Happy Birthday Roy Haynes

March 13, 1925

A birthday tribute to the superb jazz drummer

Drummer Roy Haynes was born on March 13, 1925 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Haynes has had one of the longest careers of any jazz musician, performing for over 75 years, beginning when he was 17 in 1942 in Boston.

He made his first recordings with the Luis Russell Orchestra in 1946 (although he can be heard on a broadcast with Russell from the previous year), and was part of the classic bebop movement, recording with Babs Gonzales, Sarah Vaughan, Lester Young, Milt Jackson, Al Haig, Bud Powell and Kai Winding before becoming a member of the Charlie Parker Quintet in 1949.

Throughout his career, Haynes played and recorded with practically every name in modern jazz; in the 1950s alone he can be heard with Charlie Parker and Strings, Stan Getz, Lennie Tristano, Ella Fitzgerald, Cal Tjader, Sarah Vaughan (with whom he worked regularly for a few years), Martial Solal, Red Rodney, Nat Adderley, Sonny Rollins, Art Farmer, Jackie Paris, Thelonious Monk, George Shearing, Billie Holiday, Phineas Newborn, Sonny Stitt, Randy Weston and his own sessions; he was everywhere.

In the 1960s Haynes performed and recorded with the John Coltrane Quartet when Elvin Jones was not available, and among his more notable associations (in addition to the ones already mentioned) were Eric Dolphy, Booker Little, Oliver Nelson, Tommy Flanagan, Etta Jones, Jaki Byard, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Coleman Hawkins, McCoy Tyner, Jackie McLean, Andrew Hill, Chick Corea and Gary Burton (1966-68).

Haynes, who has only slowed down as he entered his nineties, has led his own bands off and on for decades and, although he used to be perennially listed as one of jazz’s most underrated drummers, he has finally gained the recognition that he deserves in recent years.

Roy Haynes is featured as part of an all-star group during a Charlie Parker tribute from April 1973 on “Blue ‘N Boogie.”


Roy Haynes, drums
Howard McGhee, trumpet
Jimmy Owens, trumpet
Lee Konitz, alto sax
Cecil Payne, baritone sax
Ted Dunbar, guitar
Richard Davis, bass

-Scott Yanow


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