Thanks to virtuosos like Araabmuzik, the MPC is finally, after years of ambiguous legitimacy, considered an instrument . Previous arguments against the idea were largely rooted in the perception that sampling is not music-making, and therefore samplers can’t be instruments. The thinking goes—how can you compare chopping up other people’s music with understanding a musical tradition like, say, jazz?
Well, the snobs will eat their words when they meet David “Fingers” Haynes. An accomplished jazz drummer, Haynes is best known for setting aside the kit to tackle the deep technicality of jazz drumming with a button-laden drum machine—no foot pedals, no sticks, just a man and his namesake hand-toes.
Haynes has collaborated with the likes of Chaka Khan, Prince and Mary J. Blige, placing him squarely in a category that MPC-heads care very little about, and yet they could learn so much from him. In the same way that ?uestlove channels his jazz and soul roots into hip hop, an MPC user could take away plenty from Haynes’ application of hi hat ostinato patterns and jazz drum fills.
Haynes began with a nondescript, beat-up looking mystery machine, graduating to his current weapons of choice, a Korg NanoPad and Native Instruments’ monstrous Maschine. He most recently appeared at NAMM’s 2012 convention accompanying jazz bassist Nathan East, seen below.
David “Fingers” Haynes rocking the Maschine