[JPL] Roy Haynes / Richard Bona...NYTimes...

r durfee rdurfee2003 at yahoo.com
Mon Aug 28 17:14:04 EDT 2006


The jazz drummer Roy Haynes doesn’t lie back: his
subtleties are all subcategories of brazenness. Now
81, he is a high-modernist showman. When you see him
leading his band, you are confronted with his life

Appropriately he calls this quartet the Fountain of
Youth Band. It’s always decent or better, and this
lineup, with Jaleel Shaw on saxophones, Robert
Rodriguez on piano, and John Sullivan on bass,
represents a particularly high-impact phase of it. If
you have ever listened to what Mr. Haynes recorded
with John Coltrane in the early 1960’s — pieces like
“Dear Old Stockholm” — you will understand the active,
pummeling, driving sound this band is after. But in
the end it’s Mr. Haynes’s show. (He is playing Tuesday
through Saturday at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, with a
different lineup.)

Jazz being such a small-room, performance-based art,
you want to either be in the same physical space with
a guy like Mr. Haynes, or hear a proper album made in
the studio. Live album versions feel almost futile.
Still, “Whereas,” a live recording taken from three
nights of gigs in St. Paul last January, becomes
extraordinary in a few places, where the sound of the
band expands and starts to push toward more and more
intensity: greater tension, caused by Mr. Haynes’s
abrupt, aggressive chopping-up of time, and greater
flow, caused by the force of his cymbal beat and the
way the other musicians follow suit behind it. The
highest points can’t be sustained for long, but a
little is enough. 

Versions of Coltrane’s “Mr. P.C.” and Joe Henderson’s
“Inner Urge” are strong, and a solo drum track,
“Hippidy Hop,” is a seminar for rhythm fiends. The
best part of the CD, though, is a king-size version of
“My Heart Belongs to Daddy,” the Cole Porter song with
beguiling major-minor tonality. This is where the band
really puts dynamics to work. 

Playing through a waltz with the undercurrent of a
clave, Mr. Haynes keeps up the drumming’s aggression
while the band at first lies low; so much the better
for the players to concentrate on Mr. Haynes’s
gestures and keep in step with them. 

He subdivides the rhythm, putting snare drum and
cymbal in a constant tussle, making the whole tune a
kind of solo for himself, even as he has no specified
solo break. After the first four minutes or so, the
band breaks out, cresting for a bit in the middle,
with Mr. Rodriguez and Mr. Shaw playing powerfully and
densely, ranting through their instruments and getting
into Coltrane territory, before all four rein
themselves in again. The piece ends with Mr. Haynes
clicking his sticks against a bass vamp. It’s
cathartic, and tidy. BEN RATLIFF


The title track of “Tiki,” Richard Bona’s new album,
neatly summarizes his position on the topic of
cultural exchange. It opens with a chorus of voices in
a West African tongue: they’re all Mr. Bona,
representing his native Cameroon. Two minutes in, the
music gestures toward Indian pop for a guest turn, in
English, by the British-born singer Susheela Raman. 

Then comes a hip-hop interjection by Davi Vieira, in
the slangy Portuguese of his native Salvador-Bahia,
Brazil. Finally Mr. Bona returns to the theme, over a
light churn of shakers, keyboards and his own electric

In other words, he is an internationalist who finds a
common language in groove, however broadly defined.
“Tiki” is his fourth or fifth album as a leader —
depending on whether you count a collaborative effort
with the singers Gerald Toto and Lokua Kanza released
last year — and it has the sheen of a global pop
production. There are multiple flirtations with South
American rhythm, including one with the estimable
Brazilian singer-songwriter Djavan. The soul singer
John Legend makes a featured appearance on “Please
Don’t Stop,” a Quincy Jones-like confection.

Modesty suits Mr. Bona, who graciously accommodates
his guests. Still, his mellifluous singing voice is
the album’s most distinctive feature, especially when
it arrives in a multitracked chorus, with falsetto
providing the uppermost layers. Mr. Bona glosses over
another musical asset — his virtuoso bass technique —
but that turns out to be a good decision. “Tiki” feels
more recognizably human without it. NATE CHINEN

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