2018Music by Prince's father featured on new album, tracking 'that DNA thing': John L. Nelson's daughter has produced a CD of his tunes played by jazz all-stars.
Star Tribune, March 10, 2018
By Jon Bream
"But this story is not about Prince; it’s about his late father, John L. Nelson. His music is about to get discovered — or rediscovered — via a new CD lovingly put together by his oldest child, Sharon Nelson. It’s called “Don’t Play With Love” by the John L. Nelson Project. It features seven of his compositions interpreted by a top-notch instrumental band led by distinguished jazz drummer Louis Hayes, who has played with John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley, among others, and happens to be Nelson’s nephew...."
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Washington Post, January 2018
By Michael J. West
While drummer Louis Hayes has been known to take a solo or two -- it was two at the Kennedy Center's KC Jazz Club on Friday night -- he's more likely to drive from behind. Best known for his stints in the 1950s with Horace Silver and in the 1960s with Cannonball Adderley and Oscar Peterson, Hayes is a catalyst, channeling his boundless energy into the band itself and being frugal with Blakey- and Roach-style pyrotechnics.
As he demonstrated at KC, playing a supporting role doesn't mean he will be ignored.
“Serenade for Horace," the first tune played by Hayes's quintet, featured hard-swinging solos by every other member: vibraphonist Steve Nelson; tenor saxophonist Abraham Burton; pianist Anthony Wonsey; and bassist Dezron Douglas. Hayes didn't need one himself. His personality was unmissable in his accompaniment, full of thudding bombs on his bass drum, accented change-ups on the snare and a ride-cymbal sound that was as much a lash as a hiss.
His playing retained that character, and a fair bit of volume, throughout the set. But it never became domineering. Instead, it nicely spurred on Burton's mighty tirade on, for example, “St. Vitus' Dance." On “Bolivia," Hayes meshed with Nelson such that he and the vibist seemed to be playing a duet, the drummer adapting and accenting Nelson's rhythms with seeming telepathy. He didn't quite establish that level of rapport with Wonsey on what followed -- it was clearly a solo, belonging to the pianist -- but neither did he miss an opportunity to spice it up, raising the temperature on the ride cymbal and forcing Wonsey to respond in kind.
Even on the set's ballad, "Darn That Dream," Hayes was difficult to miss. He switched to brushes and stayed away from Nelson's warm, declaratory lines, but his playing was ever-present, with a sensuous sweep at times offset with pitter-patter. He resumed stickwork on Wonsey's solo -- Burton laying out -- making the cymbal shiver, along with this listener's spine.
All that said, Hayes did indeed take two solos, and if they showed impressive chops, they also, and perhaps more so, betrayed his fealty to the rhythms of the songs. Most of “Bolivia" found him rolling out the groove, just as he had been under the other soloists, albeit with more rack-tom and snare-drum rolls, before briefly coming to a boil near solo's end. He did the same on the set-closing “Cookin' at the Continental," re-centering on a different drum with each of his eight choruses: a clever trick that masked how carefully Hayes maintained the tune's blues structure. Two tasty morsels, but no more; a master drummer need not overwhelm to make an impact.
2017Louis Hayes, Bright Moments
Jazztimes, November 2017
By Aidan Levy
139: Louis Hayes (Cannonball Adderly, Horace Silver, Oscar Peterson, etc.)
September 13, 2017
Louis Hayes arrived in New York at age 19; and over the next 60 years amassed a staggeringly great body of work. His collaborators have included: Cannonball Adderly, Oscar Peterson, John Coltrane, and many more of the giants of modern music. Louis talks to Joe about growing up in Detroit, lessons in manhood from Papa Jo Jones, the difficulties that come from being an uncompromising artist, and his new album dedicated to the great Horace Silver.
Louis Hayes Pays Homage to Horace Silver on 'Serenade for Horace,' His Blue Note Debut
Louis Hayes has logged his share of session hours for Blue Note Records, as the impeccably swinging drummer for label stalwarts like Grant Green, Curtis Fuller and, indelibly, Horace Silver. Now comes his turn in the driver's seat: Hayes will make his Blue Note debut as a leader with Serenade for Horace, due out in May.
As that title suggests, the album is a tribute to Silver, the pianist and composer with whom Hayes first made his name during the mid-to-late 1950s.
He was all of 18, a recent transplant to New York City from his native Detroit, when he joined the Horace Silver Quintet -- first appearing on the 1957 album 6 Pieces of Silver, which yielded a hit single, "Señor Blues."
Hayes went on to back Silver at the 1958 and '59 Newport Jazz Festivals, and provide the rhythmic fire on classic albums like Further Explorations by the Horace Silver Quintet ('58), Finger Poppin' with the Horace Silver Quintet ('59) and Blowin' the Blues Away ('59). This was a period of unsurpassed excellence for hard-bop, in terms of both artistic standards and commercial appeal. Hayes stayed at the center of the movement even after leaving Silver.
Louis Hayes, Serenading Silver - By Russ Musto, New York City Jazz Record
43 DAYS AGO Louis Hayes @ Ronnies - An 80th birthday celebration gig!
Louis Hayes, Looking to the FutureHot House Magazine, September 2013
By Elzy Kolb
DRUMMER LOUIS HAYES IS A MAN with a past and an eye on the future. From the get-go, he has played with a stunning array of musical giants across multiple generations. In his early years, Hayes' hometown, Detroit, was bustling with players such as bassists Paul Chambers and Doug Watkins, drummer Elvin Jones, pianists Barry Harris and Tommy Flanagan and saxophonist Yusef Lateef. "They triggered my desire to play," he says. "I didn't just hear them and play with them; I also recorded with them. They were older than me, but I got to New York the same time as they did."
Hayes left the Motor City for the Big Apple in 1956. "It was an exciting time," he recalls, "being in New York and being exposed to a generation much before me: Jo Jones, Louie Bellson, Buddy Rich, Coleman Hawkins. What an opportunity to be exposed to them and to the next generation!"