Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Roy Haynes at 81: You're Only as Overt as You Feel

There's a nice article at Slate about the jazz drummer Roy Haynes (I don't know anything about him), who recently celebrated his 81st birthday by playing drums like he was celebrating his 41st. Here's a sample:

"[N]o one really expected what was heard, but crowds filled the house each set because the word went out that something extraordinary was taking place in the literal underground of that most famous of jazz basements. The audiences responded with ovations to sets that were sometimes 90 minutes long because Haynes, filled with the steam of empathetic inspiration, seemed intent on swing-swang-swinging until the cows came home. The cheering throughout the week was affirmative proof that pure music, free of tricks and grandstanding, can touch everyone when pulled out of the air with the authority of an unpredictable master."

The reason I link to this is that it shows that age does not necessarily diminish genius, which is the foundation of the Advanced theory. Of course, the Advanced have a particular kind of genius, which is often hard for their contemporaries to understand. So as they continue to improve as musicians, songwriters, and producers, their music is closer to what's in their highly evolved and difficult heads, and people don't get it. It sounds like Haynes' style of innovation is more easily appreciated, so now that he's older and more skilled, it is just that much easier to appreciate. In fact, maybe he's one of the few Overt 81-year-olds. (I can't really say because I don't know enough about him.)

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