Roy Haynes: Bird Would Say Cool Your Volume


Roy Haynes

SKF NOTE: This dialogue is from my interview with Roy Haynes at his home on November 15, 1978. According to my notes “It was raining, traffic was heavy, a chilly…evening, and I was nervous about meeting him. We had spoken on the phone a few times. The week before [this interview] I had seen Roy perform with the bassist and guitarist from his Hip Ensemble at Sonny’s Place, a small Long Island jazz club in Seaford, NY. The trio was hot. The music ran the gamut of emotions and it was always swinging. Roy Haynes is both amazing to watch and to listen to. He sat behind a set of Smokey Vistalite Ludwig drums, eyes closed in relaxed concentration, playing with that precise, crisp sound that earned him the nickname Snap, Crackle, Pop.

I asked Roy at one point if Charlie “Bird” Parker was much of an influence on Roy’s drumming. Here is Roy’s answer.

Roy Haynes: Bird never told me too much. I would think it all worked in.

I remember one time Bird telling me…. Any time we’d go into a new place we hadn’t worked before — like a hall or a club — he would say always just cool it as far as your volume is concerned. Because you don’t know what the place is going to sound like.

I still use that today with my group. I tell the guys, just feel it out first and then we’ll get involved as we go.

It’s fashionable today to go in a place and start blasting right away. Because a lot of people want to hear that. They figure if it doesn’t have enough volume it’s not happening. That there’s no energy involved. You dig?

But that’s the only thing I remember Bird telling me as  far as my playing.


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