Roy Haynes

Last updated
Roy Haynes
Roy Haynes (6338437993).jpg
Haynes performing in 2011
Background information
Birth nameRoy Owen Haynes
Born (1925-03-13) March 13, 1925 (age 98)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Genres Jazz
Years active1942–present
Labels Mainstream, Emarcy, Impulse!, Galaxy, New Jazz, Pacific Jazz, Evidence, Vogue, Marge
Roy Haynes, George Wein's CareFusion Jazz Festival 55 (2009) -- Newport, Rhode Island Roy Haynes at Newport Jazz Festival.jpg
Roy Haynes, George Wein's CareFusion Jazz Festival 55 (2009) — Newport, Rhode Island

Roy Owen Haynes (born March 13, 1925) is an American jazz drummer. [1] He is among the most recorded drummers in jazz. In a career lasting over 80 years, he has played swing, bebop, jazz fusion, avant-garde jazz and is considered a pioneer of jazz drumming. "Snap Crackle" was a nickname given to him in the 1950s. [2]


He has led bands such as the Hip Ensemble. [1] His albums Fountain of Youth [3] and Whereas [4] were nominated for a Grammy Award. [5] [6] He was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1999. [7] His son Graham Haynes is a cornetist; another son Craig Holiday Haynes and grandson Marcus Gilmore are both drummers. [8]


Haynes performing in San Francisco, 1981 Roy Haynes drummer.jpg
Haynes performing in San Francisco, 1981

Haynes was born in the Roxbury section of Boston, Massachusetts, United States to Gustavas and Edna Haynes, immigrants from the Barbados. [9] A younger brother, Michael E. Haynes, became an important leader in the black community of Massachusetts, working with Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights movement, representing Roxbury in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, and for forty years serving as pastor of the Twelfth Baptist Church, where King had been a member while he pursued his doctoral degree at Boston University. [10]

Haynes made his professional debut in 1942 in his native Boston, and began his full-time professional career in 1945. [11] From 1947 to 1949 he worked with saxophonist Lester Young, [9] and from 1949 to 1952 was a member of saxophonist Charlie Parker's quintet. [9] He also recorded at the time with pianist Bud Powell and saxophonists Wardell Gray and Stan Getz. [9] From 1953 to 1958, he toured with singer Sarah Vaughan and recorded with her. [12] [13]

A tribute song was recorded by Jim Keltner and Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones, [14] and he appeared on stage with the Allman Brothers Band in 2006 [15] and Page McConnell of Phish in 2008. [16] "Age seems to have just passed him by," Watts observed. "He's eighty-three and in 2006 he was voted Best Contemporary Jazz Drummer [in Modern Drummer magazine's readers' poll]. He's amazing." [17]

In 2008, Haynes lent his voice to the open-world video game Grand Theft Auto IV , to voice himself as the DJ for the fictional classic jazz radio station, Jazz Nation Radio 108.5. [18]

Haynes is known to celebrate his birthday on stage, in recent years at the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City. [19] In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, his 95th birthday celebration was cancelled. [20]

Awards and honors

A Life in Time –The Roy Haynes Story was named by The New Yorker magazine as one of the Best Boxed Sets of 2007 [21] and was nominated for an award by the Jazz Journalist's Association. [22]

WKCR-FM, New York, [23] surveyed Haynes's career in 301 hours of programming, January 11–23, 2009. [24]

Esquire named Roy Haynes one of the best-dressed men in America in 1960, along with Fred Astaire, Miles Davis, Clark Gable, and Cary Grant. [13]

In 1994, Haynes was awarded the Danish Jazzpar prize, and in 1996 the French government knighted him with the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France's top literary and artistic honor. [5] In 1995, the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts named Haynes as a NEA Jazz_Master. [25] Haynes received honorary doctorates from the Berklee College of Music (1991), [26] and the New England Conservatory (2004), [27] as well as a Peabody Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University, in 2012. [28] He was inducted into the DownBeat magazine Hall of Fame in 2004. [29] On October 9, 2010, he was awarded the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation's BNY Mellon Jazz Living Legacy Award at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. [30]

In 2001, Haynes's album Birds of a Feather: A Tribute to Charlie Parker was nominated for the 44th Annual Grammy Awards as Best Jazz Instrumental Album. [31] On December 22, 2010, he was named a recipient of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, [32] and he received the award at the Special Merit Awards Ceremony & Nominees Reception of the 54th Annual Grammy Awards on February 11, 2012. [33]

In 2019, Haynes was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Jazz Foundation of America at the 28th Annual Loft Party. [34]

1988Nominated Grammy Award Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Group [31] Chick Corea Trio Music Live in Europe
1989Won Grammy Award Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Group [31] McCoy Tyner Blues for Coltrane: A Tribute to John Coltrane
1996Nominated Grammy Award Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Individual or Group [31] Kenny Barron Wanton Spirit
1998Nominated Grammy Award Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Individual or Group [31] Chick Corea – Remembering Bud Powell
2000Won Grammy Award Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Individual or Group [31] Gary Burton Like Minds
2001Won DownBeat Critics PollDrums [35]
2001WonDownBeat Readers PollDrums
2002Nominated Grammy Award Best Jazz Instrumental Album [31] Birds of a Feather: A Tribute to Charlie Parker
2002WonDownBeat Critics PollDrums [36]
2002WonDownBeat Readers PollDrums
2003WonDownBeat Critics PollDrums [37]
2003WonDownBeat Readers PollDrums
2004WonDownBeat Critics PollHall of Fame [38]
2004WonDownBeat Critics PollDrums [38]
2004WonDownBeat Readers PollDrums
2005Nominated Grammy Award Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group [31] Fountain of Youth
2005WonDownBeat Critics PollDrums [39]
2007Nominated Grammy Award Best Jazz Instrumental Solo [31] "Hippidy Hop" in A Life in Time: The Roy Haynes Story
2007WonDownBeat Critics PollDrums [40]
2008WonDownBeat Critics PollDrums [41]
2009WonDownBeat Critics PollDrums [42]
2010WonDownBeat Critics PollDrums [43]
2012Won Grammy Award Lifetime Achievement Award [31]
2019Won Jazz Foundation of America Lifetime Achievement Award [34]


Roy Haynes (left) and Gunther Schuller in 2008 Roy Haynes (left) and Gunther Schuller.jpg
Roy Haynes (left) and Gunther Schuller in 2008

As leader/co-leader


As sideman

In recorded year order

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