Chasing the Masters

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A kaleidoscopic improv of a memoir, Chasing the Masters is one international insider’s journey to discover their artistic potential.  A foundational read for any aspiring artist, educator, historian, critic, or music lover.  Here, Haynes offers up his reflections on more than a half-century of musical life: stories from onstage and backstage, letters, lyrics, reviews, thought-provoking quotes, poetry, illuminating audio tracks, and above all insights on what it means to live a life in the contemporary jazz tradition.

“Phil Haynes has established a reputation as one of the top drummers and composers of his generation.”  

~ JAZZed

“. . . I’m introduced to a small boy, with two-year-old energy, who found excitement and curiosity while sitting on his mother’s kitchen floor banging away on pots, pans, and coffee cans . . . Haynes’s music becomes his memoir . . . It’s poetry in expansion . . . ‘If you’re chasing the masters, you’re much more likely to reach your full potential’ [notes Phil] . . . his goal has always been to become a great musician and not just another great drummer . . . his steady drums stroke the music ahead, like oars propelled by an Olympic rowboat master . . . The listener is sucked into the musical moment like a butterfly who got too close to a ceiling fan . . . the crashing drums of Phil Haynes spray my ears with energy as powerful as breaking glass . . . along with the ability for the reader to listen to his music [via QR codes], he uses quotes from jazz greats to either make his point or argue for or against his opinions . . . Altogether, this makes for an artistically creative biography . . . Phil Haynes showcases the new way that literature can reflect art . . . Times have evolved.”

~ Dee Dee McNeil, Musicalmemoir’s Blog

“. . . the gripping tale of Haynes’ lifelong love affair with music and his relentless quest for artistic growth . . . he has crossed paths with everybody from Lee Konitz to Anthony Braxton and [David Liebman] . . . The book is frequently hilarious and always insightful. Haynes’ career has brought him closer to the masters than most of us could ever dream.”

~ Fred Grand, Jazz Journal U.K.

“. . . charming, the memories, presented in a conversational tone and peppered with anecdotes . . . but you don’t read the book reluctantly, you read it quickly, because Phil Haynes can share his enthusiasm for music with you in a very concrete way. There is no need for dedicated music analysis.”

~ Levi Sorglos, Jazz Podium, Germany

“Chasing the Masters . . . will prove to be of immense interest to fans of Jazz music history and a singularly ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and college / university library Jazz History / Memoir collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.”

~ James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief, Midwest Book Review



Braithwaite & Katz Communications



Corner Store Jazz can field all interview inquiries and arrange direct contact with Haynes, while Ann Braithwaite is author/artist Phil Haynes’ long time press agent.

A 25-year veteran New York based artist currently teaching at Pennsylvania’s Bucknell University, Phil Haynes is featured on more than 85 LP, DVD and CD releases by numerous American and European record labels. The international media have compared his drumming to masters Jack DeJohnette, Roy Haynes and Elvin Jones, and his 60+ diverse published compositions to Duke Ellington, Charles Ives, Charles Mingus and the Art Ensemble of Chicago. His recording credentials include many of the seminal musicians of this generation: saxophonists Anthony Braxton, Ellery Eskelin, and David Liebman; trumpeters Thomas Heberer, Herb Robertson, and Paul Smoker; bassists Mark Dresser, Ken Filiano, and Drew Gress; keyboard artists David Kikoski, Denman Maroney, and Michelle Rosewoman; vocalists Theo Bleckman, Nicholas Horner, and Hank Roberts; violinist Mark Feldman, and the composers collective Joint Venture. Current Haynes touring ensembles include his: definitive saxophone trio, No Fast Food, featuring NEA jazz master David Liebman; romantic jazz-grass string band, Free Country, featuring vocalist/cellist Hank Roberts; Three Shamans, with trumpeter Herb Robertson & bassist Ken Filiano; plus the romantic piano trio, Day Dream, a cooperative with Yamaha artist Steve Rudolph and Drew Gress.

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PHIL HAYNES (2022) by Amanda Nichols
PHIL HAYNES (2022) by Amanda Nichols

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