Louis Sedell Hayes was born May 31, 1937 in Detroit Michigan. He was always surrounded by music, actually first starting with the piano, before his father gave him a set of drums at age 10. A cousin noticed his talent, took him under his wing and made sure that his approach to the instrument would serve him well. And well it did, for after developing his skills in the fertile musical ground of Detroit in the 1950's with the likes of Yusef Lateef, Kenny Burrell, Doug Watkins and others, Louis found himself at the tender age of 18 in New York as a member of the great Horace Silver Quintet. His first recording with Horace, the classic Six Pieces Of Silver would introduce him to the jazz world as a new force to be acknowledged. Louis Hayes with Oscar Peterson and Sam Jones ...during which time he and bassist Sam Jones became known as the "dynamic duo", recognized as the most powerful rhythm duo in jazz. Louis continued to enhance his reputation with Horace from 1956 until 1959 when he joined Cannonball Adderley where he propelled the quintet to joyous musical heights and timeless recordings through 1965. He joined piano master Oscar Peterson from 1965-67 during which time he and bassist Sam Jones became known as the "dynamic duo", recognized as the most powerful rhythm duo in jazz. Louis would rejoin Oscar in 1971 for a year.
For the next decade or more he became leader or co-leader of a series of electrifying groups which included musicians such as Freddie Hubbard, Kenny Barron, Junior Cooke, Woody Shaw and Dexter Gordon. Louis also spent several years touring with McCoy Tyner. The Louis Hayes Group with Herald Mabern and Frank Strozier culminated four years of artistry with the album; Variety Is The Spice which received five stars, truly an accomplishment during a period when his style of hard driving, "bebop" was less preferred. In 2002 he formed and led the Cannonball Adderley Legacy Band and produced 3 successful CDs: Dreaming of Cannon, Maximum Fire Power, and Louis Hayes and The Cannonball Adderley Legacy Band. Band members were Vincent Herring, Jeremy Pelt and bass players Vincent Archer, Richie Goods and Dezron Douglas at various times.
...he became leader or co-leader of a series of electrifying groups... Louis has played and recorded with jazz greats such as John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, J J Johnson, Sonny Rollins, Jackie McLean, Wes Montgomery, Joe Henderson, Cedar Walton, George Benson as well as Ravi Shankar, John Lee Hooker and others. He has had numerous honors and awards, here is just a sampling:
State Of Louisiana Special Recognition Award - 1986
State Of Michigan Special Tribute - 1996
The Society of the Culturally Concerned Appreciation Award - 1996
The Greater Jamaican Development Corp. In Appreciation Of - 1996
Spirit Of Detroit Award - 2004
Life Time Achievement Award From Bakers Keyboard Lounge - 2004
United States House Of Representatives Special Tribute - 2004
Recent engagements of note would include The Kennedy Center for the Arts, The JVC Jazz Festival, The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and the Chivas Jazz Festival in Brazil.
His current endeavor is a project entitled "Serenade for Horace" which is a tribute to his friend and mentor, Horace Silver, and his debut as a leader on Blue Note Records.