Curtis Fuller and Louis Hayes at Jazz Standard
Fuller choked up a little while recalling the instance when the bedridden Gillespienear the end of his lifeinvited the trombonist up to his hospital room and presented him with a snapshot of the two of them during their initial partnership. This was very moving indeed. Had the band broken into Gillespie's "I Waited For You, the entire room might have been subsequently reduced to tears.
On the contrary, however, the band took a fiery cue from Hayes and segued into the aforementioned classic. It appeared as though both Eubanks and Brown were heavily inspired by Fuller's speech, since they tried their best to channel the spirit of the puffy-cheeked legend... and succeeded.
Hayes' long-awaited solo wasas predictedmagnificent. My only complaint is that it didn't go on longer. New York audiences shouldn't sweat it, however, since Hayes' own band is scheduled to perform at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola on Saturday April 8, as well as at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center on May 12, 2006. Surely that date will offer many more opportunities for Hayes to show off his skills, which seem to be as sharp as they were back when he played with Silver.
Speaking of Silver, I had a chance after the set to talk to Hayes, who said that he remains in touch and is still "tight with the piano legend, who currently resides in Malibu, CA. Asked if there was a chance that Silver would return to the east to perform, Hayes frankly said "no, citing health problems as the factor preventing that dream from becoming a reality.