Thursday, January 10, 2019

Time Lord: Max Roach 95

We rejoinder the double drumming deity posts with the back half of the two, concerning another DNA-altering, Hall of Fame hitter.
This guy took the stylistic paths innovated by yesterday's honoree and energized them to another, entirely different level that makes him maybe the most influential drummer of all time.
I think of all those Charlie Parker albums, and the bootleg tapes of '40s Bird that people chase around like Holy Grails, as if those recordings possess some ineluctable secret of music.
Well, they do. And a big reason why people sit and transcribe Bird's solos from then like they are artifact-hunters on a mission of total discovery has to do with the fact that in any full group, the soloist can really only go as far as the drummer takes him or her.
The driving force of so much of the advent of Bebop, the playing of Max Roach was so Earth-shattering, his myriad rhythmic ideas and approaches bled across all music -- not just Jazz -- since he started by subbing for Duke Ellington's drummer at the tender age of 18.
In a way he took Kenny Clarke's shifting of the accepted accents and integrated them to be accessible, made them norms that seemed to have been that way forever.
He sort of took the syllables of Klook and made them into words and paragraphs and whole stories, if you will. If Kenny Clarke made the dictionary, Max Roach made The Great American Novel out of the template.
A lotta folks feel the power and thunder he brought to early Bop was a big influence on Rock drummers like John Bonham and Keith Moon, among others.
As he progressed he became a bandleader in his own right and forefronted the musical activism prevalent during the 1960s, on records and in concert with his wife, the singer Abbey Lincoln.
Possibly the first drummer to give solo concerts, not a few folks think his 1980s percussion orchestra M'Boom was his pinnacle, and that came a mere 40 years into his illustrious career.
He'd have been 95 today, born as he was in 1924 exactly ten years and one day after Kenny Clarke.
To honor this Sultan of skins, we are firing up another of these wild and vintage, high-def NRK rebroadcasts from their website, which features Max and his mid-1970s band on Norwegian TV about 42 years ago.
Max Roach Quartet
Molde Kino
Molde, Norway
probably 8.6.1977

01 announcements
02 It's Time
03 South Africa
04 interview with Max Roach

Total time: 43:09

Cecil Bridgewater - trumpet
Billy Harper - tenor saxophone
Reggie Workman - bass
Max Roach - drums

HD FLV file from a rebroadcast on the NRK website
first aired 10.13.1977
I will be back on Sunday with another milestone b'day celebration you Jazz Snobs are sure to wet your willies for, but that's the weekend.
Today, though, is the day we thank Providence for impeccable, galaxy-class players such as Max Roach, whose innovations at the drum chair will never not get people outta their Barcaloungers and bopping.--J.
1.10.1924 - 8.16.2007