A Roy Haynes CD that incorporates funk, soul, rock, and pop elements and includes electric keyboards and electric bass? In the generally conservative jazz climate of the 21st century -- a time when Wynton Marsalis and his equally rigid associates enjoy way too much influence -- the assumption is that a CD by someone of Haynes' caliber shouldn't be anything less than 100 percent purist in its outlook. But Haynes, truth be told, has long been versatile -- his resumé includes everyone from Pat Metheny to Lester "The Pres" Young -- and Quiet Fire reflects the veteran drummer's admirable diversity. Quiet Fire reissues two Galaxy LPs (1977's Thank You Thank You and 1978's Vistalite) back to back on a 77-minute CD. Haynes was in his early fifties when the albums were recorded, and he was obviously open to trying a variety of things. Parts of Quiet Fire are essentially straight-ahead post-bop, including Stanley Cowell's reflective "Sweet Song" and a hard-swinging version of Bronislaw Kaper's "Invitation." But a poppier, more R&B-influenced Haynes asserts himself on funky offerings like "Venus Eyes" and "Water Children" -- a Haynes who gives the impression that he's hip to Grover Washington, Jr., the Crusaders, Tom Scott, Charles Earland, Ronnie Laws, and other jazz-funksters of the '70s. At their best, all of those artists exemplified tasteful commercialism back then -- and Haynes brings a similar mentality to the more commercial parts of Quiet Fire. Haynes was definitely reaching out to soul, rock, and pop audiences at the time, but he did it with integrity; he never stooped to playing the sort of abysmal, mind-numbing elevator music that dominates today's NAC/smooth jazz formats. This CD is mildly uneven -- some of the tunes are more memorable than others -- but all things considered, Quiet Fire paints an attractive picture of Haynes in 1977 and 1978.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson