Hayden was intimately involved with the music of saxophonist Walden and pianist Cox, whose passing has left empty spaces in the local jazz scene that are still unfilled. For years they played together in various combinations; her big-toned bass was an integral voice in Walden’s last group, Free Radicals, and she collaborated memorably with Walden and Cox in jazz and poetry sessions featuring Melba Boyd’s recitations. She also shares with her two late mentors a broad range of interests in the arts and politics, a commitment to social justice, and a deep respect for the jazz tradition. Walden and Cox worked on creating original musical voices while celebrating and respecting the legacy of African-American music, with a special love of Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, and Charles Mingus.
Hayden also holds to these values, but she adds the great Detroiters to her list of cherished ancestors and has created the Detroit Legacy Ensemble to carry on their music. The group comes for the first time to Ann Arbor on January 8, when Hayden performs at Kerrytown Concert House in the company of tenor saxophonist Vincent Bowens, trumpeter Dwight Adams, pianist Henry Gibson, percussionist Mubarek Hakim, and drummer George Davidson.
[Originally published in January, 2011.]