PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Music

Roy Haynes and the Fountain of Youth Band: Whereas

Modern bop, live in Minnesota! Yup -- and it's great.


Roy Haynes and the Fountain of Youth Band

Whereas

Label: Dreyfus Jazz
US Release Date: 2006-08-22
UK Release Date: Available as import
Amazon
iTunes

Roy Haynes is 81 years old, and he remains one of the baddest jazz drummers out there, age be damned. In the last fifteen years or so, his band has become one of the prime post-Blakey training grounds for young talent, as well as a top-notch postbop live act that burns from the first note. Whereas more than cements Haynes's reputation as a talent scout and red-hot bandleader.

Haynes calls it his "Fountain of Youth Band", but the listener should feel free to wonder if it is not the drummer who provides the elixir of energy. Throughout this set, Haynes is indefatigable -- stoking the rhythmic fire relentlessly and inventively. The drumming is light and fast, sure -- but it is in constant popping dialogue with the band. Without being obnoxious or upstaging, Haynes is engaging in a continual counterpoint of syncopation with his young charges. It's a delightful dash of virtuosity.

That said, the band sloucheth not. Jaleel Shaw, on alto, is steel and hard-charging fire. While you can find the full range of colors in his playing, he seems most urgent and strong on the cookers, like the opener, Trane's "Mr. PC". He pushes his saxophone lines to their breaking points, letting his sound shatter just a little against the edge of the harmony, and this is what gives the group a touch of out-cat style. In other places, he whirls like a young Arthur Blythe -- as he scours the bottom of Joe Henderson's "Inner Urge", for example.

My vote for Most Amazing Young Cat in the Band, however, goes to pianist Robert Rodriguez. There's no shortage of astonishing young pianists in jazz, but Rodriguez jumps to the fore with originality and power. Harnessing ideas from all over the jazz spectrum, Rodriguez plays a bold kind of post-bop piano -- with a toe dipped in McCoy Tyner, a pinky in Keith Jarrett, and maybe even an earlobe channeling Herbie Hancock -- yet his particular combination seems largely new. His solo on Monk's "Bemsha Swing", for example, is built around punched chordal fragments interspersed with shards of blues melody -- the kind of pianistic strategy Don Pullen might have used, but with a greater sense of off-kilter raggedness as the solo progresses. On Charlie Parker's little-covered "Segment", his descending lines sound like brilliant hits on a snare drum, and the pure linear momentum of his melodies plainly inspires the leader. Haynes has got to be thrilled to have this guy in the band.

As has become common in recent years, Haynes includes compositions from all over: transformed standards ("My Heart Belongs to Daddy"), bop classics ("Segment"), something by Chick Corea ("Like This"), a tune by Pat Metheny (the poptastic "James"), some Monk, and modern standards like "Inner Urge". The intent, it seems, is to sum up all the great things about jazz between 1945 and 2005 -- a goal as ambitious as it is successful. There is blues, pop, and bop in equal measures all over this music -- fun as well as daring in intensity.

This concert was recorded, of all places, in St. Paul, Minnesota -- the home of A Prairie Home Companion. There's nothing nostalgic or self-mockingly Lutheran going on here, though -- just a vein of swinging jazz like a swath of gold beneath the Mississippi River. The mayor of St. Paul had declared January 20-22, 2006 to be "Roy Haynes Weekend", and concerts ensued.

And you try to imagine it: deeeeeep in the heart of a Minnesota winter, a politician had the genius to warm his city with the fire of a great jazz drummer. Whereas grows from a city's proclamation: "Whereas it is acknowledged that Roy Haynes once played with John Coltrane... whereas Mr. Haynes has a history of hiring the hottest young cats on the scene...", but it becomes much more. Haynes brings the heat -- throwing plenty of wood on the fire and meaning to melt a glacier. This is a seriously cookin' release from one of our greatest drummers, and I suspect that St. Paul was able to shed its mittens last January.

As the weather turns cold again, it's not a bad idea at all.

7

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Television

How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.

Music

Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.

Music

CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.

Music

Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.

Music

While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.

Music

Peter Frampton Asks "Do You Feel Like I Do?" in Rock-Solid Book on Storied Career

British rocker Peter Frampton grew up fast before reaching meteoric heights with Frampton Comes Alive! Now the 70-year-old Grammy-winning artist facing a degenerative muscle condition looks back on his life in his new memoir and this revealing interview.

Books

Bishakh Som's 'Spellbound' Is an Innovative Take on the Graphic Memoir

Bishakh's Som's graphic memoir, Spellbound, serves as a reminder that trans memoirs need not hinge on transition narratives, or at least not on the ones we are used to seeing.

Music

Gamblers' Michael McManus Discusses Religion, Addiction, and the Importance of Writing Open-Ended Songs

Seductively approachable, Gamblers' sunny sound masks the tragedy and despair that populate the band's debut album.

Books

Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.

Film

In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.

Music

The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.

Television

The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.

Music

The 20 Best Tom Petty Songs

With today's release of Tom Petty's Wildflowers & All the Rest (Deluxe Edition), we're revisiting Petty's 20 best songs.

Joshua M. Miller
Music

The 11 Greatest Hits From "Greatest Hits" Compilations

It's one of the strangest pop microcosms in history: singles released exclusively from Greatest Hits compilations. We rounded 'em up and ranked 'em to find out what is truly the greatest Greatest Hit of all.

Music

When Punk Got the Funk

As punks were looking for some potential pathways out of the cul-de-sacs of their limited soundscapes, they saw in funk a way to expand the punk palette without sacrificing either their ethos or idea(l)s.

Music

20 Hits of the '80s You Might Not Have Known Are Covers

There were many hit cover versions in the '80s, some of well-known originals, and some that fans may be surprised are covers.

Music

The Reign of Kindo Discuss Why We're Truly "Better Off Together"

The Reign of Kindo's Joseph Secchiaroli delves deep into their latest single and future plans, as well as how COVID-19 has affected not only the band but America as a whole.

Books

Tommy Siegel's Comic 'I Hope This Helps' Pokes at Social Media Addiction

Jukebox the Ghost's Tommy Siegel discusses his "500 Comics in 500 Days" project, which is now a new book, I Hope This Helps.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.