Roy Haynes – Out of the Afternoon (1962)

Why this album isn’t considered a classic is one of the injustices of the universe, at the very least. The first thing you become aware of is how clean and well balanced the sound is, the crispness of the cymbals and snare drum and boom of the toms places you in Rudy Van Gelder’s studio alongside the musicians. The instruments are close-miked which creates an intimate harmonic climate unique for a recording of this vintage and the stereo spread is roomy and natural. The interplay among the quartet is alive and while  Roland Kirk is alone on the frontline, his playing is relatively subdued by his standards so it never becomes his show as Haynes has plenty of room to stretch out and be ever-present with his signature snap-crackle style and buoyant soloing. His drumming is always inside the tune and he is unarguably the steering hand at all times. While the album is straight-ahead post-bop, it is the middle brace of tunes that nudges this set towards the future and lifts it above and beyond the multitudes to give it true heavyweight credentials. These taut, modal compositions showcase the masterful stick-work of Haynes and unleash the band and everything sizzles. Of course Roland Kirk’s contributions are the cream on this very special record, his performance is both far-out and contained when compared with his own albums which are essentially demonstrations of how to imitate a flaming Catherine Wheel with saxophones and flutes. On this album however he is a team-player and sparkles without outshining the supporting cast with too many eccentric distractions, but just enough to provide a distinctive texture to the surface of the overall landscape. This is such an evenly paced release that you don’t notice the whole thing is wrapped up in around thirty-two minutes, so engaging and eventful the listening experience has been. It’s unlikely you will find this at your local store, but it is available as an iTunes download. Just get it.




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