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Hard Bop Legend Roy Haynes to Keep Time in Cerritos

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By Taylor Jordan

Roy Haynes, who would also become a legend in his own time, enjoyed a musical education that most instrumentalists even today could only dream of, wistfully. The days, nights and years Haynes spent in the drum chair for seminal jazz pioneer Charlie “Bird” Parker from the late 1940s to the early 1950s were enviable for musicians at the time.

The experience helped fine tune Haynes’ drumming and timekeeping skills, ultimately leading to his distinction as one of America’s finest jazz musicians. Haynes will headline Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts at 8 p.m. Friday, May 30. Tickets are $40, $45 and $50 and available at the Cerritos Center ticket office, (310) 300-4345, or online at www.cerritoscenter.com.

Joining the legendary percussionist for the one-night only engagement will be young lions Kenny Garrett on alto sax and Nicholas Payton on trumpet, master bassist John Patitucci and pianist Dave Kikoski.

Haynes recently realized another achievement, the Billboard magazine chart-topping trio album on Verve entitled “Birds of a Feather: A Tribute to Charlie Parker.” The Cerritos concert will feature selections from this album as well as numbers which span a 50-year career and tributes to Parker, the bebop co-founder who has significantly influenced several generations of musicians in jazz and other styles.

Haynes has maintained critical acclaim, personal popularity with fans and warm camaraderie with fellow artists for more than five decades.

“Haynes is in complete control of a combo that thrives on no-nonsense hard bop ... all of the musicians are hard-driving, take-no-prisoners players, perfect for the material they’re working on,” asserted a Jazz Times magazine review of his latest effort.

According to a Downbeat magazine writer, Haynes’ “fabled touch” is a “flammable mixture of charisma and skill that ignites during each of his drum breaks to bring jazz to a boil.”

The elder statesman of jazz has kept time for many legends within the industry, including Miles Davis, Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk, Sarah Vaughn and, of course, Parker. Haynes, Max Roach, Elvin Jones and Louis Bellson are considered among the world’s premier living jazz drummers.

Patitucci is a busy bassist in the New York City jazz scene, but his acoustic skills have kept him in demand for festival, club, concert and commissioned works worldwide. The second timekeeper in the combo led by Haynes has played and recorded with such notables as pianist/composer Herbie Hancock, saxophonist Michael Brecker and trumpeter Roy Hargrove.

His father, a tenor saxophonist, taught Garrett how to play the alto sax in the family’s Detroit home. Both were influenced by Parker and John Coltrane. The younger Garrett later studied saxophone with Bill Wiggins and forfeited going to college, instead choosing to join the Duke Ellington Orchestra directed by Mercer Ellington in 1978. He left four years later to work with the Mel Lewis Orchestra and honor compositional classics written by Thad Jones. He later played the music of Charles Mingus with Dannie Richmond’s quintet.

Garrett’s concert and recording career has included work with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, Woody Shaw, Freddie Hubbard, Miles Davis, Donald Byrd, Mulgrew Miller, Cedar Walton and Wallace Roney. He has led his own groups since 1996. His third Warner Bros. album, “Pursuance: The Music of John Coltrane,” featured a guest appearance by Pat Metheny, topped Down Beat’s readers’ poll and earned the alto saxophonist the coveted first-place award held by Phil Woods for 21 years.

Payton continues the tradition of great trumpeters from New Orleans. His predecessors include buddy Bolden, Louis Armstrong and Wynton Marsalis, one of his musical mentors. A child prodigy and the son of legendary jazz bassist Walter Payton, he made his professional debut at age 10 with the Tuxedo Brass Band, led by his father.

At age 12, Payton and other uniquely talented 12-year-olds created the All-Star Jazz Band to play local gigs and tour European festivals. His prowess on the trumpet brought him to Wynton Marsalis’ attention. Marsalis recommended him to band leaders Elvin Jones and Marcus Roberts.

As a teen-ager, he balanced high school studies, additional academic and creative endeavors at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and musical mentoring by Ellis Marsalis, Wynton’s father and a professor at the University of New Orleans. Besides leading his own groups, Payton has worked with Clark Terry, Roberts, Jazz Futures II, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and the bands of Count Basie and Duke Ellington. Payton served as Elvin Jones’ musical director and, in 1996, made his film debut as Oran “Hot Lips” Page in Robert Altman’s feature film “Kansas City.” He also won a Grammy Award for best jazz instrumental soloist on “Stardust” with Doc Cheatham in 1996.

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