|JAZZ REVIEW; At 75, a Hipster on the Drumming Edge
Published: 03 - 18 - 2000 , Late Edition - Final , Section B , Column 3 , Page 11
NEW YORK TIMES
By BEN RATLIFF
It's very hard to believe that Roy Haynes is 75. He walks with rubbery, snapping, limping, rolling motions, like the most truculent, hard-core hipster you can imagine. He wears pants that flare at the bottom and button up the legs. And playing drums, he sounds earthy, minimal, hypermasculine and resourceful, orienting himself around the smashing and bashing of his small kit's high-hat and snare drum, implying as many beats as he articulates, liberating himself through subtraction.
Mr. Haynes, who played bebop with Charlie Parker and remains one of the most rhythmically advanced drummers a young jazz musician could hope to accompany, celebrated his birthday on Monday. On Tuesday night he opened a six-day run at Blue Note in high style: with Chick Corea on piano, Kenny Garrett on alto saxophone and Christian McBride on bass. It was not just a random sampling of A-list players; this was the configuration of Mr. Corea's band in 1996, when he recorded and toured playing the music of Bud Powell.
So a communication was already in place, but this band was on the level above mere agreement: the players spent the evening working on rhythmic displacements, a highly articulate way of being disjointed and together at the same time.
In Tuesday's first set the musicians played to please themselves, grazing around in standards and arranging on the fly, pushing the music toward abstraction. In ''Yesterdays,'' taking the ballad slowly, each member staked out his own time zone, hovering over slightly different areas within each bar; it created a feeling of expansion.
Mr. Corea, the group's anchor, was also its most reticent member. He busied himself with chord substitutions to disguise the harmonic movement of well-known songs and shied away from climactic improvisations, instead developing figures that were based on his own invented shapes more than on the latent power of the material itself. The bravado role was left to Mr. Garrett, who made his notes bright and full, changing his patterns and keys from phrase to phrase, inserting short riffs and funky slurred notes.
But it was the macho confidence of Mr. Haynes's drumming that dominated the evening: his dynamited triplets, the way he commanded a rhythm by resting half his body weight on the high-hat cymbal and hammering out one-handed patterns, the way he shut down a tune by pumping the bass drum and crashing a cymbal so hard he rose off his seat.