Al Hayes

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Certain jazz listeners who are percussion enthusiasts have gone to a lot of trouble to find out whatever happened to this artist. There have even been attempts to hire private detectives to track the…
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Certain jazz listeners who are percussion enthusiasts have gone to a lot of trouble to find out whatever happened to this artist. There have even been attempts to hire private detectives to track the whereabouts of Al Hayes, the main problem being that the case is inevitably dropped when the shamus finds out that he is supposed to be looking for a bongo player.

Even people who know how to decipher the abbreviations in discographies tend to get tossed across the drumhead when they come across "bgo," imagining that somehow a bingo player has been grandfathered into the history of recorded music. That's short for bongos, however, and Al Hayes is one of the guys who earned credit for bopping the little drums on several quite enjoyable sessions from the '60s.

Hayes inevitably gets special credit in the mostly favorable reviews for sides such as Gene Ammons' Bad! Bossa Nova, the caveat being that the music is actually a kind of Afro-jazz and not bossa nova at all. The bongos add an easy to appreciate touch to a rhythm section that is already on par with the cooking Ammons, including the fine pianist Hank Jones and excellent drummer Oliver Jackson.