Louis Hayes: Crisis review – effortless swing from the veteran drummer’s quintet

(Savant)
Drummer of choice for several jazz greats, Hayes’s own band work together with pure intuition

In his long career, Louis Hayes has been the drummer of choice for Oscar Peterson, Cannonball Adderley and Horace Silver, to name but three, and has led many of his own bands. Although not one of your flashy, upfront drummers, he has an unmistakable style: excitement tempered by poise.

His latest band is a quintet, its members drawn from the current New York jazz scene. The slightly gruff sound of Abraham Burton’s tenor saxophone and the ringing tones of Steve Nelson’s vibraphone make a nice tonal contrast, and they’re both fresh and engaging soloists. Pianist David Hazeltine is best known for his own trio albums (some with Hayes on drums), but he plays his supporting role in the rhythm section immaculately, emerging for the occasional, elegant solo. Bassist Dezron Douglas and Hayes seem to have worked up one of those bass-and-drums partnerships that become pure intuition. That’s why the whole thing swings so effortlessly. As if all this weren’t enough, there’s a very good guest singer, Camille Thurman, in two numbers. I tried to pick out the best from these 10 tracks but, believe me, they’re all equally good.

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