Louis Hayes

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Louis Hayes
Hayes in 1971
Hayes in 1971
Background information
Born (1937-05-31) May 31, 1937 (age 85)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Years active1950s–present

Louis Hayes (born May 31, 1937)[1] is an American jazz drummer and band leader.[2] He was with McCoy Tyner's trio for more than three years. Since 1989 he has led his own band, and together with Vincent Herring formed the Cannonball Legacy Band. He is part of the NEA Jazz Masters awards class of 2023.


Louis Hayes in 1986

Louis Sedell Hayes was born in Detroit, Michigan, United States,[1] to a father, an automaker, who played drums and piano.[3] His mother waited tables and played the piano.[3] She was the sister of John Nelson, the father of the musician Prince.[4] Hayes got his first drum set at age 10. The key influence in his early development was his cousin Clarence Stamps, an accomplished drummer who grounded his technical fundamentals and gave him lessons that stuck for life.[3] He refers to the early influence of hearing jazz, especially big bands on the radio. His main influence was Philly Joe Jones[3] and he was mentored by Jo Jones. His three main associations were with Horace Silver's Quintet (1956–59),[1] the Cannonball Adderley Quintet (1959–65), and the Oscar Peterson Trio (1965–67).[5] Hayes often joined Sam Jones, both with Adderley and Peterson, and in freelance settings.

When he was a teenager, he led a band in Detroit clubs before he was 16.[1] He worked with Yusef Lateef and Curtis Fuller from 1955 to 1956.[6] He moved to New York in August 1956, to replace Art Taylor in the Horace Silver Quintet and, in 1959, joined the Cannonball Adderley Quintet, with which he remained until mid-1965, when he succeeded Ed Thigpen in the Oscar Peterson Trio.[6] He left Peterson in 1967, and formed a series of groups, which he led alone or with others; among his sidemen were Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, Kenny Barron, and James Spaulding.[1] He returned to Peterson in 1971.

The Louis Hayes Sextet, formed in 1972, became, in 1975, the Louis Hayes-Junior Cook Quintet and the Woody Shaw-Louis Hayes Quintet (Cook remained as a sideman until Rene McLean joined); in its last form the quintet played successful engagements throughout Europe and (without McLean) acted as the host group when, in 1976, Dexter Gordon visited the U.S. for the first time in many years.[1] After Shaw left the group in 1977, Hayes continued to lead it as a hard-bop quintet.[7]

Hayes has appeared on many records throughout the years, and played with John Coltrane, Kenny Burrell, Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Timmons, Hank Mobley, Booker Little, Tommy Flanagan, Cecil Taylor, McCoy Tyner, Ray Brown, Joe Henderson, Gary Bartz, and Tony Williams.[8] He also led sessions for Vee-Jay (1960),[9] Timeless (1976),[10] Muse (1977),[11] Candid (1989),[11] Steeplechase (1989–94),[11] and TCB (2000–2002).[11]

He was with McCoy Tyner's trio for more than three years.[1][12] Since 1989 he has led his own band, and together with Vincent Herring formed the Cannonball Legacy Band.


As leader/co-leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Who's Who of Jazz (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 194. ISBN 0-85112-580-8.
  2. ^ "Louis Hayes - Biography & History - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d Stryker, Mark (2019-07-08). Jazz from Detroit. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 978-0-472-07426-6.
  4. ^ Gannij, Joan (May 23, 2017). "Louis Hayes: Still Moving Straight Ahead". All About Jazz. Retrieved June 14, 2021.
  5. ^ "Louis Hayes - Serenade for Horace - Ronnie Scott's". www.ronniescotts.co.uk. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  6. ^ a b "Louis Hayes Biography". Musicianguide.com. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  7. ^ Nicholas, Aurwin (2017-03-20). The History of Jazz and the Jazz Musicians. Lulu Press, Inc. ISBN 978-1-365-80828-9.
  8. ^ "Louis Hayes - Legendary Jazz Drummer". Louis Hayes - Legendary Jazz Drummer. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  9. ^ LondonJazzCollector (2015-08-13). "Louis Hayes (1960) Vee-Jay". LondonJazzCollector. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  10. ^ Jazz, All About. "Louis Hayes / Junior Cook Quintet: At Onkel Po's Carnegie Hall: Hamburg 1976 album review @ All About Jazz". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  11. ^ a b c d "Louis Hayes profile". SmallsLIVE. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  12. ^ Wilson, John S. (1986-01-13). "Jazz: Mccoy Tyner's Trio Performs". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  13. ^ "Louis Hayes - Legendary Jazz Drummer". Louishayes.net. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  14. ^ "LOUIS HAYES' NEW ALBUM". Bluenote.com. Retrieved 14 November 2018.

External links[edit]