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September 24, 2022
“Louis Hayes is one of the chief architects of modern jazz drumming. He’s provided the rhythmic drive for historic recordings by Horace Silver, Cannonball Adderley, Oscar Peterson, Joe Henderson, Dexter Gordon, and McCoy Tyner. His playing has an intensity that is as subtle as it is complex, creating a musical feel and vibe that is unmistakably Hayesian.”
In 1956, a teenage Louis Hayes journeyed from his hometown of Detroit to NYC to play drums for legendary pianist, composer and bandleader Horace Silver’s landmark album, 6 Pieces of Silver. Hayes had already gained a noteworthy reputation as a skillful drummer in Detroit, so he recalls the Silver never giving him detailed instructions on how to play his music. “He just gave me some records to listen to. But actually I had heard these records in Detroit already,” Hayes says. “So I set my drums up and started practicing alongside the records. When we did the first album, I just listened to Horace play the piano and followed along.” Even though Hayes’ tenure with the Horace Silver Quintet lasted only three years, he remained good friends with Silver until his passing in June 2014 at age 85.
Over the span of his career, Louis Hayes also played with numerous other titans of jazz including Oscar Peterson, John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, and Freddie Hubbard. In 2017, Hayes made his own Blue Note Records debut as leader with Serenade for Horace, his splendid tribute to his mentor and friend. On Serenade for Horace, Hayes revisits three hard bop classics that he recorded with Silver – “Señor Blues,” “Juicy Lucy,” and “St. Vitus Dance”. For the rest of the album, Hayes offers invigorating makeovers of other Silver gems including “Song for My Father,” “Silver’s Serenade,” “Summer in Central Park,” and “Strollin.’” Hayes also contributes the dazzling original “Hastings Street” whose singable melody and swinging momentum fit perfectly within the Silver tribute.
Now a living jazz icon in his own right, the still effervescent Hayes is making his return to Detroit to play two shows for his hometown. Experience this living legend’s iconic drumming live right in our very own Aretha’s Jazz Cafe.