Haynes/Holland: Birds of a Feather

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Mike Goodbar, Jun 2, 2003.

  1. Caught drummer Roy Haynes’ “Birds of a Feather” project Sat. nite at the historic Pabst (yes, as in Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer) Theater in Milwaukee. Dave Holland was on bass, with Dave Kikoski on piano, Kenny Garret on alto and Nicholas Payton on trumpet. This was my first opportunity to hear any of these guys live, and I’m glad I got the opportunity to witness musicianship on such a high level – something pretty rare in this neck of the woods. This is an all-star band that thinks like a working band.

    That said, I have to get my usual gripe in about the inadequacy of most theater sound systems (and the people who operate them) to replicate the sound of an acoustic jazz group. I felt that the concert was somewhat marred by the sound tech’s insistence that Mr. Haynes’ bass drum be the loudest instrument in the mix. The same guy probably ran sound for Whitesnake until recently.

    In the end, though, the music won out. Roy Haynes is unbelievably spry for a man of his age – for a man of any age for that matter. Roy don’t play no “tickety-boom,” but he sure as hell swings. He plays busy – real busy - but it somehow fits and supports the music perfectly.

    Mr. Holland did not disappoint. He got plenty of solo time and played some beautiful stuff. Roy laid out on all the bass solos, as did Kikoski most of the time (except ballads), giving Dave free rein. Chops of iron: he played walking lines behind a few dozen choruses of a fast “Donna Lee,” and then stepped up with a few masterful and blazing choruses of his own. Roy laid out altogether on the two ballads, spotlighting Dave’s beautiful supporting lines and gorgeous solos.