I was saddened to learn of this legend's departure. He was one of the greats.
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Thanks for alerting me to this sad news. I loved Max Roach. I learned about him when I was a freshman at University of Massachusetts and he was on faculty. He held several amazing concerts there that year. One was a solo 'lecture' concert in which he proceeded to play drum 'portraits'. I was blown away by the intricacy, the subtlety, and the complete musicality of this master artist.
He then hosted a week of concerts during Black History Month including a concert by Miles Davis, one by Sonny Rollins, and a Jazz Summit featuring Max, Dizzy Gillespie, Anthony Davis, Illinois Jacquet, Cecil Taylor, and Joe Williams! What a performance. And then I was lucky enough to meet him that week at a jazz photography exhibit by Chuck Stewart (who shot many album covers in the 50's and 60's).
My next exposure to Roach was at the UMASS music library, which allowed students to check out albums and listen to them in their library on Dual turntables with Koss headphones, and even tape them onto tapes using Nakamichi tape decks. I checked out and taped all of Roach's wonderful albums with Clifford Brown. Even though I also heard his Freedom Suite with Rollins and Abbey Lincoln, his Greatest Concert with Bird, Diz, and Mingus at Massey Hall, and his later Roach bands, I was never more impressed than by those Brown-Roach albums (even though I love 'Max is Making Wax'. His playing on all of those Brown-Roach albums (even if not recorded well) was spectacular.
I will miss him
Max Roach and Ed Blackwell had a real pesonal quality that very few other drummers are gonna give you. Thanks for recommending Max Is Making Wax and the Brown-Roach discs. I shied away from them for fear of being disappointed by the recording quality. Pictures In A Frame is probably my favorite so far... any other recommendations?
One of the most memorable musical experiences of my life was seeing Max Roach with his percussion outfit M'Boom at the late, lamented Carlos 1 in NYC. Everyone in the ensemble was chosen because of the kaleidescopic colors they got out of their various traps, hand drums, marimbas, djembes, etc. But no one was more mesmerizing than Max himself on traps. Even his silences were chock full of music.
Also remarkable was the crowd. Every third person in attendance was a drummer: Tony Williams, Roy Haynes, Ray Barretto, etc. And they were more juiced than any of us mere mortals lucky enough to have been there. Musical holiness to be sure.