When bassist John V. Brown, director of Duke University’s jazz studies program, decided to create the Duke Jazz Festival, he didn’t mess around. He booked the ageless drummer Roy Haynes, who is 80 years old but moves with the easy grace of a young lion on the prowl. As a kid during the late ’40s, Haynes apprenticed with sax legends Lester Young and Yardbird Parker–and he never looked back. John Coltrane adored him, as did hall-of-famers Stan Getz and Sarah Vaughan. Today, contemporary stars like Chick Corea and Pat Metheny dial him up when they want a certain percussive feel that’s fueled by a sure sense of history, yet tempered by the unerring desire to move forward anyway, damn the torpedoes. That’s Roy Haynes, the dapper drum dancer, a blur of color and motion, past and future.
Haynes and his young touring combo conclude the inaugural Duke Jazz Fest on Saturday, April 23 at 8 p.m. at Duke’s Page Auditorium. The John Brown Quintet and Duke Jazz Ensemble open. The same afternoon at 2 p.m., the music travels outdoors to a Jazz on the Green rite of spring at Duke’s East Campus Quad. Headliners include the Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble, Duke Jazz Ambassadors, Equinox and the ultra-chic guitar-meets-voice of Scott Sawyer and Lois Deloatch. Imagine the tantalizing sensory counterpoint of blooming redbuds and the blues. How can anyone resist? Call 684-4444 for ducats.