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McFerrin, Lake, Haynes swings on

Ron Scott | 10/2/2012, 4:52 p.m.

At any given point, Lake may be involved in a hurricane of activity, from composing major commissioned works for the Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra and the Brooklyn Philharmonic to creating chamber pieces for the Arditti and Flux String Quartets and the San Francisco Contemporary Players. He has arranged for pop star Bjork and rocker Lou Reed, collaborated with poets Amiri Baraka and Ntozake Shange and has done unique performances with MacArthur Fellowship recipients Anna Deavere Smith, actress and author, and Patricia Williams, writer, law professor and political commentator.

Is Lake really just a jazz musician or a very talented artist with an arsenal of artistic outlets? At any rate, this is going to be a memorable happy birthday bash just as eclectic as the artist.

Roy Haynes, what can we say about a living legend who came to Harlem in 1945 on a one-way ticket from Roxbury, Mass., that was sent to him by Luis Russell, who wanted him in his big band playing the Savoy Ballroom?

Haynes and his Fountain of Youth Band--alto saxophonist Jaleel Shaw, pianist Martin Bejerano and bassist David Wong--were burning last week at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola. It was jam-packed every night. During a recent interview, Haynes stated, "I love playing in New York." He proved it by turning the ice in Dizzy's Coca-Cola into steam.

The group was an intuitive jazz machine and everything was flowing with the "Royal of Haynes," a Lester Young nickname, leading the way. They turned Wayne Shorter's tune "Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum" into an extended hard bop blaze of smoke and a swinging version of Monk's "Trinkle, Tinkle."

His young, talented musicians aren't kids anymore--they are seasoned veterans who become explosive on swinging up-tempo tunes and take your breath away on ballads with a distinctive tone and rhythmic flow.

Haynes soloed by playing the rims of his drum set, never mind the skins or cymbals. It was swinging--a lesson in drums 401. It was similar to those amazing concerts when Max Roach would just play the high hat for a few minutes. "I've just been trying to play these drums for a living and hope people like what I'm doing," he stated.

When Haynes plays, he paints a complete and exciting portrait of jazz in America.