Since Don Was took on the reins of Blue Note records from Bruce Lundvall, one trend he has spearheaded has been a recruitment of veteran players. Already Wayne Shorter, the late Bobby Hutcherson and Charles Lloyd have served up new records on the greatest label – fact – in jazz.

Now it is the turn of Louis Hayes whose Blue Note leader label debut Serenade will be released in May when the drummer turns 80. 

A frequent visitor to London jazz club Ronnie Scott’s, Hayes is known in many people’s eyes still all these years on, after all it is timeless music, for his work with Cannonball Adderley and Horace Silver.

The Detroit native’s Serenade is fittingly a tribute to Silver, one of the godfathers with Art Blakey of hard bop and the player who introduced that unique Cape Verdean tinge to the lexicon of the music fused as it with the blues, a touch of gospel and many more magical hooks than might be affixed to your average coat stand.

Hayes was on 6 Pieces of Silver, Further Explorations, The Stylings of Silver, Blowin’ the Blues Away (‘Sister Sadie’ from the Blues, top) and Finger Poppin’’ with Ecaroh his tenure in the band spanning three years in the late-1950s later enjoying a longer spell powering Cannonball that ran to the mid-1960s before he joined the Oscar Peterson organisation and since leading his own groups successfully for many years.

Among the dozens of records Hayes has appeared on with some of the giants of jazz he happens to be the drummer on Cannonball’s cornet-playing brother Nat’s famous record Work Song (above) the title track of which was covered in recent years by The Blessed Gregory also incidentally a fellow Blue Note artist from a much newer generation.

Hayes has also appeared on records by John Coltrane including the Prestige period Lush Life. As a leader Hayes’ own records have been issued on such labels as Vee-Jay, a label synonymous with the early work of Wayne Shorter, and more recently this gem: 

Louis Hayes

On Return of the Jazz Communicators Hayes conjured up the original Jazz Communicators, a now scarcely recalled band he had played in alongside Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, Kenny Barron, and Herbie Lewis initially in 1967 in New York. And communication was and is still the name of the game where the swinging Hayes is concerned on this set of a dozen tunes recorded at Smoke in New York city.


BACK IN 2013 Quercus, the folk-jazz trio of singer June Tabor, above, saxophonist Iain Ballamy, and pianist Huw Warren made quite a splash internationally by winning the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, the German Record Critics’ album of the year prize, a rare accolade indeed for an album that just happened to have been recorded in a Basingstoke concert hall. That beautifully weighted self titled record drew on sources that included Robert Burns, A. E. Housman and Shakespeare and spawned much touring by the trio. Returning to record stores in late-April with the release of Nightfall, again to be issued on ECM Records, there is a Robert Burns connection bubbling up fleetingly as an enduring motif, this time ‘Auld Lang Syne’ acting as highly unusual opener. Bob Dylan classic ‘Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright‘ covered in recent years by Brad Mehldau and Chris Thile is also among the highly eclectic selection shaped by this largely acoustic, atmospheric trio who create such a unique sound all of their own. Concerts coming up include Southampton (8 April: Turner Sims); Oxford (10 May: St John the Evangelist church); and London (11 May: Kings Place).