Friday, June 24, 2005

Roy Haynes Quartet/ Ed Thigpen Sextet Jazz Winnipeg Festival, June 25, 2005

Roy Haynes and Ed Thigpen are two of the most respected, longest-playing jazz drummers in the world. Haynes, born on March 13, 1925 (80) and Thigpen, December 28, 1930 (75), both received the kind of adulation and applause reserved for living legends.

Ed Thigpen, based in Copenhagen since 1973

It came as no surprise to see Ed Thigpen receive a thunderous welcome from the audience when he walked on stage. Known for his drumming style with brushes, Thigpen spoke clearly, and drummed confidentaly. "Mr. Taste", as he is known, surrounded himself with young performers, who knocked themselves out to impress their boss and the audience.

Kasper Villaume

The most sterling example of talent for me, came from pianist Kasper Villaume. This guy was reminded me of Michael Kaeshammer, by his ability to pick out the most appropriate, sparkling notes, to match the mood of the moment. Obviously a performer more than just a musician, Villaume acknowledged that audience's applause time with huge smiles. I have one of his CDs on order and I would not be surprised if he decides to lead his own band full-time and leave the spotlight of playing with Ed Thigpen's band. Some of the compositions played inclueded Shake It Out, Thaddeus, It Might As Well Be Spring, and Fast Train.

Tomas Franck

The group, known as the Scantet, was rounded out by Jens Winther (trumpet), Tomas Franck (tenor sax), and Jesper Bodilsen (bass), all established Scandinavian players. Poney-tailed Franck reminded me of the look of Bleeding Gums Murphy.

Jens Winther

Jesper Bodsilen

Dressed in what almost looked like golden pajamas, Roy Haynes also received a thunderous applause when he walked on stage. He gave a more hyperactive performace than his younger colleage, Ed Thigpen. Armed with a younger ensemble, including dreadlocked sax player Marcus Strickland, Haynes put on a flashy show, full of energy. Before speaking with the audience, he grabbed the microphone and began to tap out a rhythm, and then engaged the audience to participate, getting the men and ladies to play different parts.

Marcus Strickland didn't crack a smile until much later on when Haynes made a joke, but he played superbly and was the most notable musician to me. Pianist Martin Bejerano and bassist John Strickland both met every challenge with the type of dexterity and control fitting of experienced soloists and recording musicians.

Martin Bejerano, Marcus Strickland and John Sulllivan

You can imagine the audiences response when he came back on stage at the very end for the final bow and announced that not only was he close to tears for the incredible adulation shown by the audience, but that he turned 80 years old this past March!

Marcus Strickland

From the Winnipeg Free Press, by Chris Smith.
Ed Thigpen/Roy Haynes
Jazz Winnipeg Festival

Manitoba Theatre Centre

June 23

4 stars out of 5

By Chris Smith

TWO legendary drummers, both coming from the mainstream of jazz, but also two different approaches to the game.
Roy Haynes is the more aggressive of the two, but Thigpen's quieter approach can carry a punch of its own.

Together they're 154 years old and have played with biggest names in modern jazz, yet their playing remains more the work of men in their prime than in their declining years.

Haynes marches boldly onstage ready to confront any suggestion that he and his band aren't ready to kick ass. And, of course that's just what they do.

Tenor saxophonist Marcus Strickland and the boss prove it from the get-go, taking no prisoners as they solo during the first number.

If Thigpen, who played first, was the epitome of gentle delivery, Haynes takes a more aggressive tack and takes his band mates on a wilder ride than Thigpen's five-piece Scantet.

Thigpen's Scandinavian band is a tight, tight assembly with the assurance and ease of a group used to performing and recording together.
The drummer himself is such a smooth player -- not flashy or bombastic, simply an elegant player who tastefully accompanied his band members and solos with aplomb.

Trumpeter Jens Winther and tenor saxophonist Tomas Franck are as intense a front line as you'll find and each can soar during a solo.

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