I must confess the new trio disc by Roy Haynes had me from side one, song one, ten seconds into Bud Powell's "Wail." Ignoring the fact that CDs don't have two sides, Haynes, a contemporary and band mate of Powell, instantly transports us back to the mid-fifties. Bebop ruled the day, and Haynes' modern choice of Panamanian Danilo Perez to emulate Powell is supreme. At 75, the drummer has witnessed just about every event in modern jazz, as sideman to Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Sarah Vaughn, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Stan Getz, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Eric Dolphy, Chick Corea, and Pat Methany. Haynes is a master colorist, tuning and managing his drum set like a piano, varying the beat, focusing merely on cymbal work or playfully swapping his drumsticks for brushes. In a trio setting, something you would normally say about a horn player, his drums are given adequate space to be heard. That may sound odd, but given this trio with John Patitucci and Danilo Perez, group interplay and creativity rule.
Patitucci, best known for his work in Chick Corea's elektric and akoustic bands, has stepped out on his own of late, this year releasing the Latin-influenced Imprint (Concord). You might have dismissed him previously because of his electric output, but here he asserts himself as a solid timekeeper. Perez, a pianist steeped in Latin rhythms, has gigged with Dizzy Gillespie and Paquito D'Rivera and released outstanding solo projects including a favorite Thelonious Monk tribute Panamonk (Impulse!). The pairing of Haynes with Perez allows for two musicians powerful enough to overwhelm the proceeding to trade ideas, play a little back-n-forth and generally have a ball. Like the great trios, from Bill Evans to Keith Jarrett, the spontaneity of a working band is the show. Proof enough, the recording is divided between six studio tracks each seven minutes or less and four live songs recorded at Sculler's Jazz Club in Boston. The live tracks, all over seven minutes, showcase a flexibility and workability not unlike a baseball double play combination. Sure much of today's music is merely derivative of a style once unique, but pairing an original like Haynes with two outstanding young cats and allowing them to act as a working band, creates something quite special.
Track List:Wail; Question And Answer; Shulie A Bop; Dear Old Stockholm; It's Easy To Remember; Folk Song; Sippin' At Bells; Bright Mississippi; Prelude To A Kiss; Green Chimneys.