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Louis Hayes


Louis Hayes, born 1937 in Detroit, Michigan, turned heads early in his career, when, as an 18-year-old unknown, he became a star attraction as the dynamic young drummer in Yusef Lateef's group of the late Fifties. The drummer's subsequent three-year association with pianist Horace Silver's band, and especially his contribution to Silver's classic Senor Blues on the widely selling Six Pieces of Silver album, brought him before an even more international audience.

In 1959, Hayes joined the vibrant Cannonball Adderley Quintet, an event the drummer describes as 'one of the best experiences of my life, both personally and musically'. The irrepressible Hayes unarguably created the 'buoyant, yet driving foundation' for Adderley's quintet at a period when the group was making soul-jazz history.

Hayes continued to make jazz history, notably with pianist Oscar Peterson and bassist Ray Brown - in 'the Greatest Trio in the World' -- and with Freddie Hubbard, McCoy Tyner, Kenny Barron, Junior Cook and Woody Shaw.

In spite of being one of the world's most revered drummers, and a mentor for young percussion students, Hayes modestly admits that he still practises daily. And he's never apologetic when it comes to his life's passion - music.
When Hayes was asked recently about his contribution to the music - his reply was simple, but heartfelt 'What I have contributed has been my mind, my heart and my energy'.

Indeed, over the last 20 years, this internationally acclaimed drummer has dedicated himself to, what he describes as, 'the unfinished business' of taking the music into yet unexplored dimensions. Hayes' current mission is recreating the spirit of the great Cannonball Adderley in the exciting project featuring legendary alto saxophonist Gary Bartz in the 'Adderley' role.

For more than forty years, drummer Louis Hayes has been a catalyst for energetic, unrelenting swing in his self led bands, as well as in those whose respective leaders reads like an encyclopedia of straight ahead post-bop modern jazz. Hayes himself an authentic architect of post-bop swing, began his professional activities at the tender age of 18. He started with tenor saxophonist, flautist and oboist Yusef Lateef who like Hayes is a Detroit native (other jazz luminaries hailing from the "motor city" include the Jones brothers, Elvin, Hank and Thad, guitarist Kenny Burrell, pianist Tommy Flanagan and many others). After the stint with Lateef, Hayes went on to rhythmically propel groups led by pianist Horace Silver, legendary saxophonist Cannonball Adderley and pianist Oscar Peterson. These positions were augmented by countless recordings on the Blue Note, Prestige, Riverside and other labels with the likes of John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, J.J. Johnson, Jackie McLean, Wes Montgomery, Cedar Walton, Dexter Gordon, Woody Shaw, George Benson, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner and the list goes on.

For the last twenty-plus years, Louis has led or co-led some of the most uncompromisingly swinging groups in all of jazz. Each unit has displayed tight-knit harmonic cohesion and hard-driving consistency as part of its signature.

With so much activity in his past, Louis could easily rest comfortably on his laurels. But being a forward thinker and doer, Hayes operates "in the present!" His recent groups boasts some of the cream of jazz' recent crop. Saxophonist Javon Jackson and Abraham Burton, young trumpet titan Riley Mullins and other stellar players are among current members of the Louis Hayes Quintet. Louis Hayes posses an embarrassment of riches. His story, still being told, contains a glorious past, a vibrant present and an ever promising future.


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