Snap Crackle: Roy Haynes Quartet - "Out Of The Afternoon"

Roy Haynes Quartet • Out Of The Afternoon • 1962 • Impulse! Records
Recorded May 16 & 23, 1962 at Rudy Van Gelder Studio

The Selections:

The Tracks:

A1. Moon Ray
A2. Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words)
A3. Raoul
B1. Snap Crackle
B2. If I Should Lose You
B3. Long Wharf
B4. Some Other Spring

The Players:

Roy Haynes - Drums
Roland Kirk  - Tenor Sax, Manzello, Strich, C Flute, Nose Flute
Tommy Flanagan - Piano
Henry Grimes - Bass

The Record:

The Always Sharply Dressed Roy Haynes

Roy Haynes was just about everywhere in the golden age of jazz, recording classic albums with some of the most legendary names of the genre: Miles, Coltrane, Monk, Bud Powell, Sarah Vaughan, Sonny Rollins, Eric Dolphy, Milt Jackson, McCoy Tyner and Jackie McLean. During this time he didn't record extensively as a leader, but he did produce two outstanding albums under his own name, the trio outing We Three (with Phineas Newborn and Paul Chambers) and the hard-bop-verging-on-post-bop Out Of The Afternoon, an excellent example of the adventurous spirit that was taking flight in the jazz world in the early 1960s. 

How Haynes managed to hook up with Roland Kirk for Out Of The Afternoon is anyone's guess (as far as I can tell they didn't record together elsewhere, and Kirk did not make very many appearances as a sideman), but in any case when they stepped into the studio in May of 1962 the result was an exciting album that remains criminally under-appreciated despite the outstanding contributions of the all the players present. Tommy Flanagan shines on the piano, his delicate touch the perfect complement to Kirk and Haynes. Flanagan, like Haynes, seemed to have recorded with just about everyone in the '50s and '60s, and he may not be the first hard bop pianist that comes to mind when listing the greats, but he certainly had a serious impact on modern jazz as we know it, appearing on such classics as Giant StepsSaxophone Colossus and Blues-Ette.

Roland Kirk

If you're not familiar with Kirk, just check out "Raoul" and "Snap Crackle" (both Haynes originals, the second named after a euphemism for his drumming style) where the great jazzman employs his style of playing more than one brass instrument at the same time. On "Raoul" (which also features an outstanding bowed bass solo by Henry Grimes) Kirk plays the tenor sax and the manzello both simultaneously and individually. On "Snap Crackle" things get even more interesting. At one point he plays the tenor, the strich, the manzello and the flute at the same time, then follows that with a flute solo that is nothing short of pure Kirk musicianship. He takes the flute out of the bell of his tenor, plays an urgent solo for about six bars before then accompanying the flute with both a nose flute (it is just what it sounds like it is) and then using a humming in his throat as yet another accompanying instrument. Some say Kirk is an acquired taste, I say he's pure genius. 

It is certainly a bit of a mystery as to why Out Of The Afternoon remains as under-appreciated as it does (only eleven reviews on Amazon, although they are all four and five star reviews). Just the presence of Kirk should bring the record a fair amount of attention, and that's not even taking into account the interest that a Haynes and Flanagan session should attract. Due to it's cult status, finding the LP in vintage form at the right price might take a little patience, but you will be well rewarded in the end.

The Vinyl:

The Details: A nice 1972 pressing on Impulse!, this one the "second version" of the orange-ring label with "A Product of ABC Records, Inc. © 1971" along the bottom. The original stereo pressing from a decade earlier would be on the very first Impulse! label (it was also released in mono), and according to Discogs there was one more US pressing in 1980 with the MCA Records "rainbow" label.

The Price: I paid $22 at an out-of-town record store, a more than fair price considering the VG+ vinyl and cover (maybe even tilting towards the NM- range if I'm not being overly conservative).

The Sound: The vinyl sounds fantastic, these late '60s to early '70s may not have the cache of the earlier pressings, but in good shape they have many of the same qualities: lots of depth with excellent analog sound and separation of the instruments. The session was engineered by Rudy Van Gelder, so it's no surprise that the nuances of Grimes' bass playing and Kirk's double-horn playing come shining through.

Notes: While most jazz albums from the early 1960s have memorable covers, there is something about the artwork of Out Of The Afternoon that really strikes me as showcasing that certain something that is so alluring about vintage jazz vinyl. It looks so great sitting next to the turntable, even if it wasn't such a spectacular album, I'd be tempted to pull it out just for the cover alone. Luckily, it has the best of both worlds - great music and great cover - so it's a win-win all around.