Louis Hayes Serenade For Horace (Blue Note 2017)


Coming full circle on Blue Note, Louis Hayes pays tribute to pianist and composer Horace Silver, whose legendary quintet the drummer was part of a long, long time ago.

Louis Hayes - Serenade For Horace


Louis Hayes (drums), Abraham Burton (tenor saxophone), Josh Evans (trumpet), Steve Nelson (vibraphone), David Bryant (piano), Dezron Douglas (bass)


in 2017 at Aum Studio Productions, Bakersfield and Systems Two Recording Studio, NYC


as BN 06XXGSC14 on May 26, 2017

Track listing

Senor Blues
Song For My Father
Hastings Street
Juicy Lucy
Silver’s Serenade
Lonely Woman
Summer In Central Park
St. Vitus Dance
Room 608

Once you’ve heard Louis Hayes furiously kickstart Kenny Drew into action on the pianist’s eponymous Blue Note album Undercurrent from 1960, you are under his spell. One of the hardest swinging drummers of the generation that came after pioneers Kenny Clarke and Max Roach, Louis Hayes, himself particularly influenced by Philly Joe Jones and now eighty years old, looks back on a miraculous career in the drummer’s seat behind Horace Silver, Cannonball Adderley, John Coltrane, Oscar Peterson, Dexter Gordon, Joe Henderson, Grant Green, Woody Shaw and many others. Fifty-seven years after his debut as a leader on VeeJay, Louis Hayes, Hayes dedicated his eighteenth album, Serenade To Horace, to his erstwhile bandleader Horace Silver, whom he joined in 1956 at the age on nineteen. Hayes performed on the classic albums Six Pieces Of Silver, Stylings Of Silver, Further Explorations, Finger Poppin’ and Blowin’ The Blues Away.

Silver’s unbeatable, intricate and eternally swinging tunes get a loving treatment by the sextet. No egomania on the part of Louis Hayes, propulsive support only. The Rudy van Gelder days may definitely be over, certainly as regards to the production of drums. Yet, for all the kit’s unspectacular sound, Hayes’ sparkling, delicate use of the ride cymbal effortlessly carries the group over the hill. Mid-tempo tunes like Ecaroh, Juicy Lucy, St. Vitus Dance, the uplifting top-notch Hayes original Hastings Street, slower ones like Strollin’, (the deliciously slow-dragging) Senor Blues, as well as uptempo, bop-inflected mover Room 608 are thoroughly injected with tasteful blues messages and exuberant strokes by tenor saxophonist Abraham Burton and trumpeter Josh Evans, while vibraphonist Steve Nelson’s airy sound and crisp phrases add depth to the repertoire. Pianist David Bryant’s sparse, carefully crafted lines act in accord with Lonely Woman’s wry sentiment.

The album spawned a single, a take on the iconic Song For My Father. It’s a cameo from singer Gregory Porter, whose sonorous, roasted marshmellow voice and suave phrasing perfectly match the endearing emotions of melody lines like ‘if there was ever a man who was generous, gracious and good, that was my dad, the man…’. A tasty intermezzo between the fine hard bop dishes of old master Hayes.

Read more about Serenade For Horace on the website of Blue Note.

The Stroker

MICKEY ROKER – In honor to Mickey Roker, who passed away on May 22 at the age of eighty-four in his hometown of Philadelphia, I picked a few tunes that showcase the drummer’s exceptional style. During a long-standing career, Roker performed and recorded with Gigi Gryce, Duke Pearson, Sonny Rollins, Milt Jackson, Horace Silver, Dizzy Gillespie, The Modern Jazz Quartet and many others. In his own words, Roker, also known as The Stroker because he knew his way not only with sticks but also around the pool table, was ‘just a swinger, from the old school you know, just a time-keeper.’ He was that, but more. Propulsive most of all, and versatile, comfortable with both Stanley Turrentine and McCoy Tyner. Roker was also blessed with a unique feeling for exotic rhythm.

Gil Fuller and Chano Pozo’s Afro-Cuban classic Tin Tin Deo with Junior Mance (Happy Time, Jazzland 1961):

With Sonny Rollins, the indelible Three Little Words (On Impulse 1965):

Three Little Words.

As vintage hard bop as it can get with Duke Pearson, Sudel (Sweet Honey Bee, Blue Note 1966):


Avant-leaning cooperation with Herbie Hancock, First Child (Speak Like A Child, Blue Note 1968):

First Child.

Roker is an irreplaceable part of Frank Foster’s Manhattan Fever supplying the groove and finesse that makes it such a fine late-period hard bop album: Little Miss No Nose (Manhattan Fever, Blue Note 1968):

Little Miss No Nose.

And swinging hard in old-fashioned bop mode with Dizzy Gillespie and Milt Jackson at Montreux, Cherokee (The Dizzy Gillespie Big 7, Pablo 1975):


For the most informative of obits, read Nate Chinen’s piece in WBGO.

Pianist Ethan Iverson did one of his great marathon interviews with Mickey Roker in 2011 for his blog Do The Math.

New Cool Collective Big Band Featuring Thierno Koité (Dox Records 2017)

Sensuous African and Latin soul jazz on New Cool Collective’s eleventh album New Cool Collective Big Band Featuring Thierno Koité.

New Cool Collective Big Band Featuring Thierno Koite


Thierno Koité, Benjamin Herman, Miquel Martinez, Efraim Trujillo, Wouter Schueler & Tini Thomsen (saxophone), Jelle Schouten, Joe Rivera, David Rockefeller & Randall Heye (trumpet), Bart Lust, Frans Cornelissen, Kees Adolfsen & Andre Pet (trombone), Rory Ronde (guitar), Willem Friede (electric piano), Leslie Lopez (bass), Joost Kroon (drums), Jos de Haas & Frank van Dok (percussion)


in 2016 at Wisseloord Studio, Hilversum


Dox 273 in 2017

Track listing

Myster Tier
Moussa Caravelle

Eclecticism is a main ingredient in the career of New Cool Collective and Benjamin Herman, the alto saxophonist who founded the octet/big band nearly 25 years ago. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that after the trademark exotica set of Electric Monkey Sessions (2014) and collaboration with pop act Matt Bianco’s Mark Reilly The Things You Love (2016), the group releases an album with the Senegalese saxophonist Thierno Koité. In between, New Cool Collective also supported the popular Dutch singer, Gentleman-Next-Door Guus Meeuwis on his album Hollandse Meesters. Which undoubtly was a bridge too far for part of the public. It kept my eyelashes blinking 24/7 for 247 days on end, but, actually, it was a most excellent affair in that popular genre, courtesy of New Cool Collective’s nimble and buoyant accompaniment. Love for all things outlandish, with no distinction between high or low-brow, is also a feature of New Cool Collective and Benjamin Herman. In this respect, the altoist has always been gladly following the footsteps of one of his heroes, the recently deceased pianist Misha Mengelberg.

Above all, the dance groove has been essential for the welfare and recognition of New Cool Collective. The prize-winning band turns many a hall and audience upside down and has been touring the globe for years. In the department of lively, both hip-shaking and intelligent music, Featuring Thierno Koité is no exception. The seeds of the album were sown in 2012, when New Cool Collective toured in Senegal and met Koité, who has been a key figure in West African music since the seventies and the leader of the acclaimed Orchestra Baobab. In December 2016, New Cool Collective performed with Koite and recorded this album of Koité originals, co-compositions and NCC tunes.

Koité is a humble altoist, never pushes a message down the throat but instead, like a grandaddy telling a story to his grandson, playfully weaves together lines. A hypnotic style with indelible timing and a dusty, small tone. Not timid by all means, but forceful in its own sweet way. Myster Tier, a lovely tune with a catchy stop-time theme and tricky rhythmic layout, finds the unpredictable Koité slithering through the melody like a rattlesnake. Squiggly lines abound also in Thierno. Koité’s alluring mix of staccato and sing-songy phrases contrast nicely with Benjamin Herman’s sweet-sour solo of lingering, liquid silver notes. If a couple of tunes navigate closely to the all-too spotless shores of basic Latin rhythm, Koité and the other outstanding contributors always add enough spicy statements to save the day. And unfazed, the soft-hued Koité rides the waves of New Cool Collective’s heavier tunes like Chega and Pambiche.

Spinning the disc alongside Calexico, Fela Kuti or, say, Ry Cooder’s Talking Timbuktu would be a far from odd listening choice for a sizzling sunny afternoon. Most of all, the indomitable conversation of Koité’s alto sax with the big band’s smart West-Afro-Groove turns Featuring Thierno Koité into another significant addition to the catalogue of New Cool Collective.

Find New Cool Collective Big Band Featuring Thierno Koité on Dox Records here.

Check out the website of New Cool Collective here.

Play Myster Tier on Spotify below.

Laurence Fish Quintet Sen’s Fortress (O.A.P. Records 2017)

With obvious delight, pianist Laurence Fish guides his quintet through a lively market place of standards and originals on his debut album as a leader, Sen’s Fortress.

Laurence Fish - Sen's Fortress


Laurence Fish (piano), Caspar van Wijk (tenor saxophone), Tom van der Zaal (alto saxophone), Nanouk Brassers (trumpet track 4 & 10), Matheus Nicolaiewsky (bass), Eric Ineke (drums)


on December 16 & 20 at O.A.P. Studio, The Hague


as OAPR1702 on May 14, 2017

Track listing

Things Ain’t What They Used To Be
Second Time Lucky
Close Enough For Love
Ghost Of A Change
Sen’s Fortress
Eshu’s Hat
Love Is A Many Splendored Thing

The Hague has been the premier Dutch bop and hard bop city since the fifties and the town is still littered with places where musically gifted young and older cats meet. Such is the case with the musicians on this disc, who either have been associated with the Royal Conservatory or living in The Hague. The Laurence Fish Quintet, which includes the veteran Dutch drum hero Eric Ineke, delivers an excellent set of mainstream jazz.

Assumingly in sync with a gentle personality, the London-born, thirty-two years old Fish employs a lithe touch and works around the melodies with carefully crafted steps, adding creamy voicings and happy-go-lucky tremolos. A versatile stylist, Fish alternates a thoroughly swinging after hours rendition of Mercer Ellington’s old warhorse Things Ain’t What They Used To Be and the standard Love Is A Many Splendored Thing, which is marked by a sweet-tart conversation between altoist Tom van der Zaal and tenorist Caspar van Wijk, with moody ballads such as Mariposa, one of five compositions by Fish. The tune includes a lyrical contribution by trumpeter Nanouk Brassers, whose tone and delivery brings back memories of Art Farmer. And, as an astute marriage counselor, in his solo Laurence Fish seals a happy marriage between romance and ringing blue notes. Fish tastefully stretches out in Ghost Of A Change, another standard of this 59 minute set. A maximum of 45 minutes (the LP-format, I’m old-fashioned and I don’t mind it…) would, arguably, have more impact than the hour that fills the album, which, by the way, sounds remarkably transparent, spacious and warm.

Eric Ineke’s experience and expertise provides the glue that sticks together the various parts, providing spot-on accents and delicacy and fire proper for the occasion. His propulsive approach, which blends well with bassist Matheus Nicolaiewsky’s swift and firm bass playing, comes in handy during the uptempo original compositions by Fish that bring to mind the adventurous Blue Note recordings of the mid-sixties. Without a doubt, Fish writes a killer tune! Both the modal jazz-tinged Roam and Sen’s Fortress are complex but catchy themes, alluring riddles of tension, release and quixotic twists and turns, that offer a challenging canvas for the sidemen’s strokes. The outgoing Caspar van Wijk, occasionally attacking in the manner of Joe Henderson, tells a coherent story. Mildly contrasting, Tom van der Zaal’s statements are balanced but forceful. Both young saxophonists conjure up delicious phrases from the rich well of hard bop saxophone art. Besides presenting fine statements by Van der Zaal, Van Wijk and Fish, Second Time Lucky is a beautiful song that ignites a smile like cheerful classics such as Shiny Stockings.

Sen’s Fortress is a location in a computer game. Laurence Fish might play it as fanatically as your average high school kid, the pianist’s core business is making music with an enthusiastic nod to the tradition. It’s good news for fans of mainstream jazz if Fish would continue his path down the straight-ahead road, hopefully writing more avant-leaning compositions in the process.

Find Sen’s Fortress here. The album will be available on May 14.

Find the website of Laurence Fish here.

Art Of Allen

TONY ALLEN – On May 19, Blue Note will release A Tribute To Art Blakey And The Jazz Messengers by drummer Tony Allen, a digital EP consisting of four Messengers classics including Moanin’. (see here) It’s a teaser for Allen’s forthcoming album dedicated to the indomitable Art Blakey or as he also came to be known, Buhaina. The legendary Nigerian drummer Tony Allen, who together with Fela Kuti is widely acknowledged as the pioneer of Afrobeat, was strongly influenced by American drummers such as Max Roach and Art Blakey. Which comes as no surprise, since Blakey is often seen as the most African of the modern jazz drummers. Although Blakey, who resided in West Africa in the late forties, always insisted that jazz was a purely American music, the similarities of Blakey’s style and African drums are striking. Seen in this light, percussion-heavy Blakey albums as Drum Suite, Orgy In Rhythm and Holiday For Skins might best be viewed as American interpretations of African rhythm. Allen, who has been living in Paris for twenty years, will be performing the music of Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers at Jazz Middelheim in Antwerp, Belgium on August 5, (see here).

Blue Note, 2017

Eric Ineke Let There Be Life, Love And Laughter: Eric Ineke Meets The Tenor Players (Daybreak/Challenge 2017)

Crisp and alert drumming on Eric Ineke’s latest Challenge release, Let There Be Life, Love And Laughter: Eric Ineke Meets The Tenor Players. The album brings to life performances of the now seventy year old Ineke with legends like Dexter Gordon and Lucky Thompson, and contemporary colleagues like David Liebman and Grant Stewart.

Eric Ineke - Let There Be Life, Love And Laughter: Eric Ineke Meets The Tenor Players


Track 1: Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Rein de Graaff, Koos Serierse, Eric Ineke; Track 2: Dexter Gordon, Rob Agerbeek, Henk Haverhoek, Eric Ineke; Track 3: Johnny Griffin, Rein de Graaff, Koos Serierse, Eric Ineke; Track 4: Grant Stewart, Rob van Bavel, Marius Beets, Eric Ineke; Track 5: David Liebman, John Ruocco, Marius Beets, Eric Ineke; Track 6: Clifford Jordan, Rein de Graaff, Koos Serierse, Eric Ineke; Track 7: Lucky Thompson, Rob Madna, Ruud Jacobs, Eric Ineke; Track 8: George Coleman, Rob Agerbeek, Rob Langereis, Eric Ineke


Recorded on October 24, 1984 at De Spieghel, Groningen (track 1); November 2, 1972 at De Haagse Jazzclub, The Hague (track 2); September 16, 1990 at De Brouwershoek, Leeuwarden (track 3); May 17, 2014 at Bimhuis, Amsterdam (track 4); November 20, 2014 at De Singer, Rijkevorsel, Belgium (track 5); October 12, 1983 at NCRV Studio, Hilversum (track 6); November 22, 1968 at B14, Rotterdam (track 7) and April 18, 1974 at Hot House, Leiden (track 8)


as DBCHR 75226 in 2017

Track listing

Body And Soul
Bye Bye Blackbird
Let There Be Life, Love And Laughter
Prayer To The People
Lady Bird

It is an intriguing and a rewarding project, the combination of so many different styles of tenor playing. In his book co-written with Dave Liebman, The Ultimate Sideman, Ineke, premier European modern jazz drummer who played with numerous legends like Dizzy Gillespie, Hank Mobley and Freddie Hubbard, ruminates on the intrinsic bond between the tenor saxophone and drums: “The tenor saxophone is one of the instruments that is really made for jazz music, much like the trap drums. They are quite similar in that respect. It blends very well with the drums, particularly with the cymbal and with the tom tom sounds.” Ineke swings equally hard with tenorists, altoists or baritone players, yet the conversations of the drummer with Dexter Gordon, Johnny Griffin, et. al. eloquently prove his point. These conversations also are evidence of Ineke’s flexible approach to the manifold ways of phrasing and timing from the classic heroes and contemporary stunners of jazz.

A lot of crackerjack tenorism on Let There Be Life, Love And Laughter. George Coleman, a monster on tenor and perhaps still undervalued, sets fire to the Hothouse in Leiden with Walkin’. A tune that, incidentally, was so influentially performed in 1954 by Coleman’s band leader of 1963/64, Miles Davis, a session that included Lucky Thompson. On this version, Ineke acts accordingly, ‘bombing’ generously and answering Coleman’s staccato, recurring figures equally furiously. Fire and brimstone!

Dexter Gordon’s typically ‘lazy’ but forceful statements on Stablemates, taken from the sought-after LP All Souls: The Rob Agerbeek Trio Featuring Dexter Gordon, are kept in check by Ineke’s steady beat. Gordon wails one of his great solo’s of the seventies. Pushed to the max, another giant of tenor, Johnny Griffin, is flying home at breakneck speed on the bop standard by Denzil Best, Wee. It’s a propulsive high point of the Rein de Graaff Trio, which included bass player Koos Serierse and is marked by high-level bop drumming with a leading role of the ride cymbal. Rein de Graaff’s Bud Powell-influenced solo is ferocious, masterful, the tension is heightened by bold lines up and down the keys. Johnny Griffin is having serious fun. At the end, the Little Giant sardonically and playfully comments on the prolonged Ineke coda: “Shut up! You drummers playin’ so loud. Jazzzzzz music! Where am I, Leeuwarden? Dankjewel.”

On another side of the spectrum Ineke delicately accompanies Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, whose sensuously masculine, breathy take of Body And Soul is most arresting. There’s the clean, round and honestly emotional tone of Clifford Jordan, who plays his original composition Prayer For The People. Lucky Thompson also possessed a lithe, mesmerizing tone on the tenor saxophone. Thompson, an essential link between swing and bop, is heard on Lady Bird on a radio recording at club B14 in Rotterdam in 1968. 1968… where have all the flowers gone: the period in which the professional career of Eric Ineke, who celebrated his 70th birthday recently at The Bimhuis, really took off.

Also from that venerable venue in Amsterdam stems Ineke’s recording (including regulars from his hard bop outfit Eric Ineke’s JazzXpress, pianist Rob van Bavel and bassist Marius Beets, who also took excellent care of this album’s mixing and mastering) with Grant Stewart. His story of Bye Bye Blackbird is relaxed but driving, motivated by Ineke’s lilting rhythm. At forty-six, the Canadian Stewart is the youngest tenor player on the album. Considering Eric Ineke’s supportive attitude towards young Dutch hard bop guys as well as international students on the Conservatory Of The Hague, where he teaches, it would’ve been the cherry on top if a collaboration with a young lion could’ve been included.

On the title song, Ineke cooperates with long-time collaborator Dave Liebman and John Ruocco. During a rendition of the pretty Kurt Weill composition that alludes to the intrinsic Dixie-feel of early Ornette Coleman tunes, Liebman and Ruocco travel a similar avant-leaning path, Liebman with exuberant tinges, Ruocco more introspective. The beat seems to have time-traveled from Baby Dodds to Ed Blackwell to Eric Ineke. A noteworthy excursion to the woods from the hard bop aficionado, who, lest we forget, periodically traveled to modal landscapes with Rein de Graaff and far-out territory with Free Fair in the mid and late seventies.

Let There Be Life, Love And Laughter is a thoroughly enjoyable reminder of the swing and expertise that Eric Ineke has always brought to his gigs with incoming Americans. And I’m sure it will be a revelation for jazz fans who have heretofore been dependant on hearsay.

Find Let There Be Life, Love And Laughter: Eric Ineke Meets The Tenor Players here.

I Loves You, Porgy

PORGY & BESS – Good clubs are a blessing for jazz musicians and, as a consequence, for the audience. Professional equipment, a fine-tuned piano, supportive management and atmosphere are all part of the attraction. Porgy & Bess, the famed jazz venue in Terneuzen, The Netherlands, which celebrates its 60th birthday in 2017, scores way above average. The passionate and welcoming handling of affairs by the team built around general manager Maja Lemmen, who has been associated with Porgy & Bess almost from the start, and the warm-blooded atmosphere are something else. Musicians from all over the world love to perform at Porgy & Bess.

Porgy & Bess was founded in 1957 by the Suriname-born Frank Koulen, who had arrived in Dutch Flanders with the Allied Forces in 1944. It started out as a tearoom but soon staged dixieland, and later on, modern jazz. Koulen, who passed away in 1985, was famous for organising street parades, a novelty in Holland. Porgy & Bess has hosted concerts by Chet Baker, Arnett Cobb, Don Byas, Art Blakey, Benny Golson, Ray Brown, Horace Parlan, Cedar Walton, Phil Woods, Lou Donaldson, Nat Adderley, Lee Konitz, Cecil Payne, Ray Bryant, Toots Thielemans, Philip Catherine, Christian McBride, Danilo Perez, Diana Krall and many others. Simultaneously, Porgy & Bess is a cultural institution that also stages roots music, classical music matinees and literary readings.

Porgy & Bess started off its year of celebration with the return of Porgy regular Roy Hargrove on January 14. In April, festivities continue as Porgy & Bess organizes a Mini Anniversary Festival. On April 20 the Dutch guitarist Anton Goudsmit performs with blues singer Phil Bee, on April 21 Ambrose Akinmusire, one of America’s greatest young trumpet players, performs with musicians from the Conservatory Of Antwerp, April 22 will see a cooperation of the Dutch pianist Bert van den Brink and the Greek pianist/singer Maria Markesini, and on April 23 the Belgian writer Tom Lanoye will mix jazz improv with literature.

For info and tickets, go here.

For my interview with general manager Maja Lemmen, go here.

Photography above: eddywestveer.com