Album Review: Roy Haynes — Roy-Alty

Playful and dynamic, pensive and serene, Roy Haynes’s new album, Roy-Alty, is a glowing example of the veteran jazz drummer’s remarkable talent. Backed by musicians, Jaleel Shaw on alto sax, Martin Berjerano on piano, and David Wong on bass, Haynes proves that he is a strong and supportive group leader, guiding his band through 10 formidable compositions with a sense of artistry and grace that only 60 years as a jazz musician can provide. Featuring guest artists Roy Hargrove and Chick Corea, Roy-Alty is another powerhouse album from an indisputable legend of jazz drumming.

The album opens with the buoyant and bluesy “Grand Street” featuring trumpeter Roy Hargrove, whose unmistakeably rich tone is given a profound new dimension through Haynes’s bright and crackling cymbal accompaniment. Haynes’s shines once again on “They Call the Wind Mariah,” which features an intricate and linear saxophone melody anchored against Berjerano’s brilliantly constructed piano voicings. Haynes’s drumming provides a much needed sense of stability to the song, but offers enough flexibility to allow his bandmates to experiment with rhythm and time.

Chick Corea appears as a guest pianist on the album’s third track, a tasteful interpretation of Monk’s “Off-Minor.” On it, Corea flaunts his skills as a harmonic architect, constructing lush and multi-hued piano chords that evoke endless shades of color. Haynes’s snare, famous for its “Rice-Krispies” sound (it snaps, crackles and pops – get it?) is featured predominately on this song, adding an electric jolt of rhythm to the Monk’s trademark sparesness. Hargrove returns for a second time on the tenderly arranged “These Foolish Things,” the first of the album’s two ballads, and he navigates through the tune’s single and double time feels with effortless poise. The song sits in stark contrast to the the next tune, “Milestones,” which features a cup-muted Hargrove alongside sax player Jaleel Shaw. The melody of this vintage bebopper is a familiar one, but Haynse’s enthusiastic drumwork lends the tune a fresh and vigorous new dimension. The follow-up “Tin-Tin-Deo” begins with a smooth vocal introduction, then cascades into a torrent of cyclical rhtyhms. Haynes’s drumwork on this tune is constant and enveloping, creating a turbulent rhythmic landscape over which Hargrove’s melody soars. The album’s next song, “All the Bars Are Open,” is an open-form meditation piece featuring Chick Corea, whose deep, seraching piano lines are framed tastefully in Haynes’s resonant tom-tom patterns. The result is an intense and contemplative work of art. “Pinky,” a ballad, sets Jaleel Shaw’s serene saxophone melody flush against a dense and immersive piano accompaniment by Martin Berjerano. The song’s lilting melody and rubato sections offer a peaceful introduction into the album’s next song, “Equipoise,” a tightly-wound up-tempo piece featuring Haynes’s explosive drumming and Hargrove’s hard-bopping riffs. The album’s final track, “Passion Dance,” featues Hargrove once again, and serves as the perfect end to this passion-filled album. Its non-stop groove, fueled by Haynes’s rapid fire snare and flickering cymbal work, is driven to the brink of pandemonium, but stops just in time to leave you craving more.

As with everything this long-time stickman puts on wax, Roy Haynes’s new album Roy-Alty is certainly worth a listen. With its tasteful song selection, star-studded line-up, and flawless execution, Roy-Alty is a promising new album and much-appreciated contribution from a true jazz master.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: