Thursday, August 16, 2007

Max Roach, 1924-2007


The great drummer Max Roach died today.

I last saw Roach when he was in Kansas City in 1997. In addition to headlining a traditional concert, Roach played at a ceremony in the lobby of the Black Archives. I want to say that someone honked on Charlie Parker's Grafton- I call it the Plastic Sax- at that event, but I'm unable to verify this recollection. As There Stands the Glass readers probably know, Parker used that instrument in the famous show at Massey Hall that featured Roach on drums.

This piece from Streams of Consciousness may be the single most concise and representative example of Roach's approach. The 1977 duet with Dollar Brand (later Abdullah Ibrahim), it shows both politically-driven musicians in top form.

(Thanks to my friend Jason for delivering the sad news.)


WLIB said...

I still think his solo in Sonny Rollins "St. Thomas" is a small perfect jewel of imagination, invention and technique. I heard the news yesterday while driving around Midtown. Felt like pulling over, but the beat goes on...

bgo said...

Jackie McLean played the plastic sax for a few brief moments. I was there and remember it well.


Happy In Bag said...

Good call, Lee.

While I'm confident in your recollection, BGO, it just astounds me that (aside from my own online musings) there's no account of that event available.