Roy Haynes arrived too late to claim a place among the drummers who helped invent bebop. He began playing with Charlie Parker in the late 40s, and though he quickly made his mark--with crisp explosions on the bass drum, a stinging, chattery hi-hat, and an almost feral energy--the styles of Kenny Clarke, Art Blakey, and Max Roach had already defined the idiom. But Haynes (who, though you'd never guess it to look at him, turned 78 in March) has done so much since then, and with such continued exuberance, that he's transcended his part in jazz history. His resume includes long-term musical relationships with both of the great saxophonists who bracket Parker in the canon, Lester Young and John Coltrane, making Haynes the only man to have played in the working bands of all three; a stint with Sarah Vaughan; work with his own wonderful fusion band, the Hip Ensemble; and ongoing collaboration with younger and younger players, from Chick Corea to Pat Metheny to Danilo Perez. Case in point: his most recent disc, Love Letters (Columbia), recorded 14 months ago, is a pure romp, featuring guest work from pianist Kenny Barron, guitarist John Scofield, and saxist Joshua Redman. The quartet he brings to Chicago this week presents more evidence of Haynes's unflagging powers as drummer, leader, and showman (both onstage and off, he moves with a lithe swagger). It stars the young saxist Marcus Strickland, brainy and compact in his solos, along with pianist Martin Bejerano and bassist John Sullivan; all are less than half Haynes's age, and all of them have to bring their A game every night just to keep up. Tuesday through Thursday, July 22 through 24, 8 and 10 PM, Friday and Saturday, July 25 and 26, 9 and 11 PM, and Sunday, July 27, 4, 8, and 10 PM, Jazz Showcase, 59 W. Grand; 312-670-2473.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Michael Jackson.