If your kid gets sent to the principal for drumming on his desk this year, try not to come down too hard on the little bebopper. After all, look what happened to Roy Haynes. He got sent to the principal’s office as a boy for the same rat-a-tat offense. His father excused it as nervousness. But Haynes, a legendary drummer, now knows his disruptive activity was merely practice for an outstanding career in music.
Haynes will perform Friday, Oct. 20, at the Maine Center for the Arts as part of the Jazz Masters touring initiative spearheaded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Haynes is one of more than 30 U.S. jazz musicians touring arts centers in each state to educate and entertain with a national art form and to emphasize the role of performing arts centers in communities. Jazz masters making other tours in the U.S. include Herbie Hancock, Ahmad Jamal, Dave Brubeck and Paquito D’Rivera. Although some states have more than one NEA Jazz Masters performance, the MCA concert is the only one in Maine.
Haynes, who was born in Boston, is not only jazz royalty in his own right, but he has played alongside many of the jazz greats: Thelonious Monk, Stan Getz, John Coltrane, Chick Corea and Pat Metheny – to name only a handful. Haynes has said he’s “semiretired,” but, at 81, he is still hitting the circuit with unrelenting swing.
And you have to admire a man who not long ago compared his approach to “riding a horse.”
“You pull a rein here, you tighten it up here, you loosen it there,” Haynes said in a Dreyfus Records interview. “I’m still sitting in the driver’s seat, so to speak. I let it loose, I let it go, I see where it’s going and what it feels like. Sometimes I take it out, sometimes I’ll be polite, nice and let it move and breathe – always in the pocket and with feeling. So the music is tight but loose.”
Tickets are still available for Roy Haynes and the Roy Haynes Quartet, 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, at the Maine Center for the Arts in Orono. Call 581-1755 or visit www.MaineCenterfortheArts.org.