Roy Haynes / Phineas Newborn, Jr. / Paul Chambers

We Three

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We Three, recorded in a single session on November 14, 1958, was the first American studio date as a bandleader for the diminutive and legendary jazz drummer Roy Haynes, although with pianist Phineas Newborn on board (along with bassist Paul Chambers), it really is a set dominated by Newborn, whose busy, two-handed technique here works in tandem balance with Haynes' cool refinement. Newborn was all about amazing and dazzling piano runs that on some dates created simply too much flash and clutter to allow pieces to flow and breathe properly, but Haynes has always been about grace and flow throughout his career (if a drummer's style can said to be elegant, Haynes fits the bill), and here he rubs off on Newborn, who exercises just enough restraint to keep him in the proper orbit, resulting in a fine album. Highlights include the easy, pure swing of the opener, a version of Ray Bryant's "Reflection," a wonderful and bluesy rendition of Avery Parrish's "After Hours" (which finds Newborn in perfect balance between explosive ornamentation and smooth functionality), and a jaunty, fun spin through Newborn's own "Sugar Ray," a tribute to boxer Sugar Ray Robinson. This trio had a brief recording career together, but as this solid set shows, they made the best of it.

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