The Jazzcat

Roy Haynes at Catalina’s Bar and Grill

by on Jul.23, 2007, under News

Packed! The first night, the first set for a three day run

with Roy Haynes at Catalina’s Bar and Grill in Hollywood and the buzz is just

as hot a the show. In the audience tonight, actor Wren Brown, drummer Marvin “Smitty”

Smith, Maggie Lepique from 90.7fm KPFK and a whole host of in the know jazz

lovers who all knew where the epicenter of the jazz pulse in Los Angeles was

beating tonight.


As the lights dim and Manny introduces the band, Roy is

proceeded on stage by his youthful counterparts Martin Bejerano, David Wong and Jaleel Shaw but, when he waltzes his cool

ass across the stage, his style and stride make the wise one seem ageless! Not

only is his stroll one to behold but, he handles those drums with the facility

of a tiger. Forget about taking the same old standards and playing them all

polite. Roy is the fire which digs and drives his young band members to the

peak of their performance.


Roy’s youthful spirit exemplifies his persona as well as his

playing. He is one of a few of the old guard that plays with the respect and

passion of old when cats were heavy, playing and filling with a unique

individual identifying signature. Puttin’ the Roy Haynes on it! Roy is 80 years

old and not much is going to stop his enthusiasm for elevating the music to a

level of intense integrity. There are a few of our living masters that have

conceded to using the celebrity of their name over the integrity of their sound

to entice audiences. Mere shadows of the former fire that once raged and now

embers are left to burn until it is all over. I am glad to see that Roy is not

one of them.


Taking song like “Trinkle Tinkle” and Monkering a new face

for the music. Exploration into improvisation is what keeps the ever morphing

cycle of jazz reinvention as the pinnacle to which all good things that come to

an end rise up to return again and again. Weather the band is working the

standards or more popular material like Pat Metheny cover tunes, there is a

tempo, a new direction and some plastic surgery to tighten the butt, lift the

breasts and put a whole new wrinkle on the Trinkle!


Roy takes advantage of his freedom of expression. He carves

a path in each of the compositions and his den of lions, Martin Bejerano piano,

David Wong bass and Jaleel Shaw on sax follow just as freely. The room is

filled with much love and respect for the drum master and his band of worthy

disciples. That honor is returned in the form of an intense desire to hold the

title and be the reigning jazz drumming champ of all times; keeping time on the

drums and leading the audience to rhythm in the pocket.


Roy is surprised by the warm Hollywood welcome! He thinks

that people don’t think he will be around much longer and that is why everyone

is breaking down the doors to see the show. Roy has got so much energy, he makes

80 the new 40! I think we will be hearing a lot more from this super senior.


In the audience tonight is the lovely Tierney Sutton and Roy

invites her up on the stage to blow her version of “Body and Soul”, two things

that Tierney knows how to work very well. Dr. Art Davis is also in the house

and come on stage to get down with Roy just like they used to do back in the

day. Roy said that he received an honorary Doctorate from one of the

universities so, the Dr.’s are on the stage although Dr. Art pointed out that

he earned his the old fashioned way. Either way you put it, it all added up to

great historic fun with the duo rendition of “Squeeze Me, but Please Don’t

Tease Me”.


Roy Haynes is and will continue to do the damn thang so make

sure that you don’t miss your chance to partake in the experience. The Roy

Haynes Experience!!






LeRoy Downs




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