A funky version of the Roberta Fleck classic Feel Like Makin’ Love followed. This is a great piece of music that these two master musicians interpreted on a spiritual level. To close out their set both musicians did a beautiful solo piece.
This was followed by a set from Bob Dorough and Henry Grimes. Originals from Dorough highlighted a set that displayed the bass work of Henry Grimes. The duo opened up with a tune entitled I Get the Neck of the Chicken. Other selections included Lazy Afternoon, Devil May Care and Small Day Tomorrow. On Devil May Care, Grimes displayed his formidable technique and improvisational might. Small Day Tomorrow was a catchy tune with lyrics that exemplified living in now, a state of being for jazz artists.
The featured artist for the evening was none other than jazz legend Roy Haynes. Here is a musician that no matter how many times I see/hear him I never grow tired of his beautiful, spiritual message. The quartet opened with the Thelonious Monk selection Trinkle Twinkle. So smooth and on was the quartet that it sounded like it was a straight up recording. Roy was anchoring a talented group. Walter Smith III was on tenor and made an immediate impression. Pianist Martin Bejerano was impressive throughout the evening. The second selection was from Roy’s wonderful release entitled Praise. The track, After Sunrise, is the ultimate world music/jazz/meditative improv vehicle. Roy took this gem and created a medley as the band went into the Pat Matheny composition James, one of my personal favorites.
After a beautiful balled featuring Walter Smith III, the band pulled off one of the most inspirational versions of My Heart Belongs to Daddy. This composition made the listener feel like the musicians were in celebration mode. Roy was swinging in a serious way and Walter Smith III was very impressive on this selection. The bass playing of John Sullivan should also be noted. He did a number of solos throughout the evening and never stopped creating original, ear-satisfying, musical material.
The last selection was Anniversary Waltz, a fun tune the band obviously enjoyed. Roy showed why he continues to impress his listeners and was one of the few musicians to reach the Downbeat Hall of Fame in his lifetime. Bobby Taylor once introduced him as an American Treasure. I can’t think of a better way to describe this musical giant.
The concert was presented by Highlights in Jazz, New York’s longest running Jazz Series (in its 32nd year).