Thursday, August 16, 2007

Drum Innovator, Max Roach, is Dead at 83

The New York Times, which can seldom be faulted for its coverage of jazz (although it can be faulted for many other things), has a suitably long, detailed, and respectful obituary for pioneering jazz drummer, Max Roach, one of the innovators at the birth of bebop--a man who played with Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, and other titans, and who never stopped exploring musical possibilities.

3 comments:

Ed said...

My favorite recordings of Max Roach are those with Clifford Brown and Sonny Rollins in the 1950s. Max more than anyone was able to make drums a melodic instrument; a famous early example is his drum solo in Rollins' famous "St. Thomas" from Saxophone Colossus recorded while each were still reeling from the death of Brown. While I'm less a fan of his later work, Roach did demonstrate his belief that it is important to grow and innovate rather than to stagnate.

Matt Steele said...

The best recording of Max Roach is his work with the trio of Duke, Mingus and himself on "The Money Jungle". That is a powerful record!

Paul D. Adams said...

I had the priviledge of catching Max in a hotel lounge at Santa Fe, NM about 18 yrs ago. It just so happened that was the hotel my band chose to stay overnight in on the way home to Colorado. As we checked in to our rooms, we saw a marquee announcing his combo playing that evening. It was a night to remember! We (another drummer, saxist, trombonist, keyboardist, bassist, and vocalist) sat in an audible stupor for almost 3 hours as Odean Pope (see http://www.odeanpope.com/), Cecil Bridgewater (see http://www.cecilbridgewater.com/Main/Home.htm) Max, and others rocked (or should I say "jazzed") our world.

A tremendous experience.

By the way, a hotel I stayed in Chicago has Louie Bellson's trio playing in the lounge for one evening only as well. His nephew was (and still is) a great tenor player that I had the privilege of playing with for many years. 'Twas a memorable experience hearing Louie and my tenor friend exchange family stories during Louie's breaks!