His current sextet, heard on this impressive set recorded at New York's new Birdland club, includes the talents who compare very favourably with the foregoing list of ex-sidemen of Hayes. Gary Bartz is a splendid alto saxophonist with a tart tone and a personal manner of phrasing. Trumpeter, Charles Tolliver, like Bartz, is most at home in a hard bop context and his mobile lines certainly flourish in the company of Hayes and cohorts. Tenor and soprano saxophones are played with equal spirit and effectiveness by John Stubblefield who completes Louis front line cast. Pianist Mickey Tucker is another seasoned performer who has worked as an accompanist for singers, comedians, pop groups, big bands and small jazz groups. Clint Houston is a swinging and supportive bass player.
Welding these gifted musicians into a read band are the swift and sure hands and feet, lightning reflexes and razor sharp mind of Louis Hayes whose early influences were all the best (Kenny Clarke, Max Roach, Art Blakey, Elvin Jones, Philly Joe Jones) and can be clearly detected in his dedication to the beat and concerto to fire the soloists.
This is a brilliantly executed programme of hard bop, dramatically driven and directed by the ebullient Louis Hayes.
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