Drummer Roy Haynes chose a perfect title for this album: at 79 years of age, he is an undisputed elder statesman of jazz and one of the few surviving ambassadors from the bebop past; at the same time, he plays with the kind of energy and unflagging invention that would be the envy of a drummer one-third his age. Fountain of Youth was recorded live in December of 2002 at the legendary Birdland club in New York City. Haynes leads a quartet that also features pianist Martin Bejerano, saxophonist Marcus Strickland, and bassist John Sullivan. The program opens with a brilliant jazz-waltz setting of the traditional English tune "Greensleeves," and then proceeds to survey both bebop standards (there are no fewer than three Thelonious Monk compositions on the nine-track program), Tin Pan Alley classics (Irving Berlin's "Remember"), and even a Pat Metheny tune (the lovely "Question and Answer"). Everyone plays with both fire and elegance, especially on the dancing "Butch and Butch" and a lovely, meditative rendition of Monk's "Ask Me Now." And while Haynes always plays with consummate taste and never consciously upstages his young bandmates, a listener paying any attention at all will be constantly surprised by his inventive and exquisitely tasteful rhythmic exclamations and subtle prods. Very highly recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson