Roy Haynes' 2000 trio outing with Danilo Perez and John Patitucci had a tribute theme at its core. So too does this all-star quintet outing for Dreyfus. Here the subject at hand is Charlie Parker, with whom Haynes played for several years beginning in the late 1940s. Joining the 75-year-old Haynes for this tribute are bassist Dave Holland, altoist Kenny Garrett, trumpeter Roy Hargrove, and pianist David Kikoski. Having spent over ten years performing and recording with Haynes, Kikoski is especially in tune with the leader's every move. Some tracks are fairly typical Bird fare: "Moose the Mooche," "Yardbird Suite," "Diverse" (aka "Segment"), "April in Paris." Others, however, are off the beaten track: Billy Reid's "The Gypsy," Gerry Mulligan's "Rocker," Cole Porter's "My Heart Belongs to Daddy." In addition to the often fiery playing, there are a number of unexpected arranging twists. Haynes' take on "Ah Leu Cha" is an intriguing hybrid of the Charlie Parker and Miles Davis versions -- played fairly slow and with a straight repeat on the A section (Parker), but using "Scrapple From the Apple" changes rather than rhythm changes for the solos (Davis). Haynes also lengthens the form of "Now's the Time," Parker's anthemic yet simple blues, giving it a vamp-based flavor that recalls Eddie Harris' "Freedom Jazz Dance." The Cole Porter tune, similarly, becomes an occasion for modal stretching. There's also a blistering exchange between Hargrove and Garrett toward the end of "What Is This Thing Called Love" -- the album's big payoff. Despite these and other subtle touches, Birds of a Feather doesn't quite have the creative spark of Haynes' previous album. That was a working band; this comes across as a casual blowing date, albeit an illustrious and sometimes surprising one.
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