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Roy Owen Haynes (born March 13, 1925)[1] is an American jazz drummer and group leader. Haynes is among the most recorded drummers in jazz, and in a career lasting over 70 years has played in a wide range of styles ranging from swing and bebop to jazz fusion and avant-garde jazz. "Snap Crackle" was a nickname given him in the 1950s.

Roy Haynes
Roy Haynes.jpg
Haynes live at Carnegie Hall on September 18, 2007.
Background information
Birth nameRoy Owen Haynes
Born (1925-03-13) March 13, 1925 (age 94)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
GenresJazz, bebop, hard bop
Occupation(s)Bandleader, percussionist, composer
InstrumentsDrums, percussion
Years active1945–present
LabelsMainstream, Emarcy, Impulse!, Galaxy, New Jazz, Pacific Jazz, Evidence, Vogue
Associated actsLester Young, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Sarah Vaughan, Stan Getz, Wardell Gray, McCoy Tyner

He has also led his own groups, some performing under the name Hip Ensemble.[1] His recordings as a leader, Fountain of Youth[2] and Whereas,[3] were nominated for a Grammy Award. He continues to perform worldwide and was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1999.[4] His son Graham Haynes is a cornetist; his son Craig Haynes and grandson Marcus Gilmore are both drummers.

Early careerEdit

Haynes was born in the Roxbury section of Boston, Massachusetts. His younger brother, Michael E. Haynes, would go on to become 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.

Roy Haynes made his professional debut in 1944 in his native Boston and began his full-time professional career in 1945. From 1947 to 1949 he worked with saxophonist Lester Young, and from 1949 to 1952 was a member of saxophonist Charlie Parker's quintet. He also recorded at the time with pianist Bud Powell and saxophonists Wardell Gray and Stan Getz. From 1953 to 1958 he toured with singer Sarah Vaughan and also recorded with her.

Later careerEdit

Roy Haynes drummer

Haynes's influence on the rock world has also been apparent, with a tribute song recorded by Jim Keltner and Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones,[5] and on-stage appearances with the Allman Brothers Band in 2006[6] and Page McConnell of Phish in 2008.[7]

In 2008 Haynes appeared in Grand Theft Auto IV as himself as the DJ of the radio station JNR.

A 3 CD/1 DVD boxed set entitled A Life in Time - The Roy Haynes Story[8] was released by Dreyfus Jazz[9] in October 2007. The set chronicles highlights from Haynes career from 1949 to 2006, including recordings with Parker, Vaughan, Davis, Monk, Corea, Metheny and his own Hip Ensemble and Fountain of Youth quartet. The set was listed by The New Yorker Magazine as one of the Best Boxed Sets of 2007,[10] and was nominated for an award by the Jazz Journalist's Association.

WKCR-FM, New York,[11] surveyed Haynes's career in 301 hours of programming, January 11–23, 2009.[12]

On April 21, 2016, at the age of 91, Haynes performed drums on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, accompanied by Jon Batiste and Stay Human (band).

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Roy Haynes among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.[13]


Haynes extracted the rhythmic qualities from melodies and created unique new drum and cymbal patterns in an idiosyncratic, now instantly recognizable style. Rather than using cymbals strictly for effect, Haynes brought them to the forefront of his unique rhythmic approach. He also established a distinctively crisp and rapid-fire sound on the snare; this was the inspiration for his nickname, "Snap Crackle".


Haynes endorses Yamaha drums, pedals and hardware, Zildjian cymbals and Remo drumheads. He also uses his Zildjian Roy Haynes signature drumstick and has a Yamaha Roy Haynes signature snare drum. In the past, he endorsed Ludwig and Slingerland and he has been photographed playing Latin Percussion, notably congas.[14] Haynes had used Paiste flat rides in the past, thus indicating he may have endorsed Paiste at some stage.[15]

Awards and honorsEdit

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.

In 1994, he was awarded the prestigious Danish Jazzpar prize, and in 1996 the French government recognized Haynes as a knight, decorating him with the prestigious "Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres," France's top literary and artistic honor. Haynes received honorary doctorates from the Berklee College of Music (1991), and The New England Conservatory (2004), as well as a Peabody Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University, in 2012. He was inducted into the Down Beat Magazine Hall of Fame in 2004. On October 9, 2010, Roy Haynes 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. On December 22, 2010, Haynes was named a recipient of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.[16] Haynes received the award at the Special Merit Awards Ceremony & Nominees Reception of the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards on February 12, 2011.


Roy Haynes (left) and Gunther Schuller in 2008

As leader/co-leaderEdit

As sidemanEdit


  1. ^ a b Biography
  2. ^ Fountain of Youth Archived November 12, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ [1] Archived November 13, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Modern Drummer's Readers Poll Archive, 1979–2014". Modern Drummer. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  5. ^ "Charlie Watts". Retrieved 2011-10-18.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-08-20. Retrieved 2012-02-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ Dreyfus Records
  8. ^ A Life in Time - The Roy Haynes Story
  9. ^ Dreyfus Jazz Archived January 12, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Best Boxed Sets of 2007 The New Yorker
  11. ^ "WKCR 89.9FM NY". Retrieved 2011-10-18.
  12. ^ "". Archived from the original on 2008-12-23. Retrieved 2011-10-18.
  13. ^ Rosen, Jody (June 25, 2019). "Here Are Hundreds More Artists Whose Tapes Were Destroyed in the UMG Fire". The New York Times. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  14. ^ Jon McCaslin, "Enjoy Your Weekend....With Roy Haynes!" Four on the Floor, June 12, 2010.
  15. ^ "Jazz Backstage: Roy Haynes & Chick Corea", Jazz Online, May 24, 2011.
  16. ^ "The Recording Academy Announces Special Merit Award Honorees". News. Retrieved December 22, 2010.

External linksEdit