Nearing 80, Drummer Louis Hayes Remembers Horace Silver on His Blue Note Debut

May 15, 2017

Ang Santos and Louis Hayes at WBGO
Credit Nicole Sweeney / WBGO

Drummer Louis Hayes will celebrate his 80th birthday at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola later this month.  It’s also a CD-release party for his solo debut on Blue Note Records, Serenade for Horace.

Hayes was 20 when he recorded his first drum tracks for Blue Note — on 6 Pieces of Silver, by the Horace Silver Quintet. He had been behind the kit with the band for some time when the record hit stores.

“Arthur Taylor had previously appeared with Horace for a few jobs and for some reason that didn’t work out too well. Doug Watkins and Donald Byrd recommended Louis Hayes and Horace called me. I was very excited about that and very happy to come and join Horace Silver’s Quintet,” Hayes said. “He was such a wonderful person, and we got along so well and he was recording for Blue Note, so I had the opportunity to record five albums with Horace on Blue Note.”

Serenade for Horace will be the first Louis Hayes solo album on Blue Note, a tribute to his earliest days as a professional player.

“New York was such an exciting place for me to be.  It’s where I wanted to be since I was a young person in Detroit coming up.  Seeing all of these magnificent musicians that I had been reading about in my younger life and listening to.  To be in their company to be excepted, living this life that I always wanted to live.  Being able to appear with Horace Silver and learn his music, he was such a prolific writer, and to be able to interpret his music was a just a wonderful time in my life.”

Hayes will perform at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola from May 29 to 31. The final night of the run falls on his 80th birthday.

“I feel good, my mind works, my body works.  This is a magnificent piece of art we’re bringing out now and I look forward to working with Blue Note and doing bigger and better things.”