The Prize Winner 1994

Roy Haynes | Picture |

American drummer and bandleader. Born Roxbury section of Boston, Massachusetts, March 13, 1925.

   Numerous prominent jazz artists - from Parker and Coltrane to many of the young lions of today - have demanded Roy Haynes as the anchorman of their groups. His playing has through all these years been marked by a unique consistency and versatility, establishing him as maybe the post war drummer, a musicians' musician who for too long did not obtain the general recognition he really has deserved.
   Roy Haynes' reputation as a master drummer is partly built on his crisp blend of rhythm, color, contrast, and pacing. He senses the profound secrets of jazz rhythm, the continual interplay of tension released into balance. Among his trademarks are continuous shifting of accents, anticipations, displacements, and almost impossible counter-rhythms. Haynes' intensity and flexibility, his speed and wit, as well as his sonorous use of the drum set, of brushes as well as sticks, has served as a model for many other players. Like his musical offspring he favors a rather dry timbre. Celebrated are his sparkling, mercurial snare drum / hi-hat combinations and irregular bass-drum patterns.
   Following the contours of a front horn effort in a masterly way, Roy Haynes underlines the performance of a soloist rather than promoting himself. He is really listening. But Haynes does not confine himself to the role of an accompanist. His solos and trades with horns are often described as crisp, poetic, dancing, intelligent. He knows the magic of leaving silent spaces here and there. But don't get it wrong! Haynes' playing can be very mean, aggressive too. Sometimes his inventive style is characterized by explosive power and complicated, sudden rhythmic changes.
   No wonder that Roy Haynes has been doing well for five decades. His is able to accommodate perfectly to almost any circumstance. In fact, Haynes is a living link between swing, bebop, and contemporary jazz. He has more than dipped into latin, rock, and free music. But the broad mainstream of jazz is definitely his real element. Today Haynes is celebrated as one of the last innovators from the 40's who is still out there saying something new.
   The 1994 JAZZPAR Prize was awarded to one of the most substantial and exciting drummers ever in the art form of jazz!

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