Wednesday, January 10, 2024

(Don't Fear the) Repercussions: Max Roach 100

Max Roach Quartet - Nommo (excerpt)

We're starting the postings for 2024 where they oughta start: the centennial of one of the foremost figures in not just Jazz, but modern music in general.

I know I've covered this cat a bunch of times, but he's definitely on the Cleared For Repetition list.

Easily one of the most musical drummers ever to pick up a pair of sticks, no percussion person has ever combined the melodic touch with the smash-bam attack the way he did.

What do you say? He burst out way back in the 1940s at the dawn of Bop, playing in the bands of Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Coleman Hawkins and Miles Davis.... and that was just on Tuesdays!

Surely one of the primary architects of the Be-bop drum vocabulary, he exploded onto the scene almost fully formed and revolutionized the back line not just for Jazz players, but for everybody.

One time I saw him play and he took a 15 minute solo.... on just his hi-hat stand.

In 1952 our hero made another crucial innovation, becoming (with Charles Mingus) co-owners of their own label: one of the first instances of artists taking that sort of control.

This label, called Debut, saw the release of the famous Jazz At Massey Hall all-star concert, as well as a passel of Fifties Jazz essentials.

From there he went on to form a band with trumpet deity Clifford Brown, cut short by that legend's untimely 1956 death in a car accident.

After that -- you'll forgive me if the career recap for this dude reads like the Complete History of Jazz -- he backed Dinah Washington and began churning out his own, seminal platters.

In the Sixties he got involved with social activism and began to produce Civil Rights-themed Hard Bop concept albums like We Insist! and Members Don't Git Weary, some of the most popular and integral Jazz records of the time.

The 1970s saw him lead his own groups, culminating with the formation of his percussion army, M'Boom, towards that decade's close.

Did I mention he is Fab Five Freddy's godfather? He died in 2007 after decades upon decades driving music forward, so Max Roach -- as mighty and influential a musician as shall ever live -- would have been 100 years old today.

I twisted up a remaster of this tremendous bootleg of one of his stranger bands of the 1970s to honor the occasion, as I am sometimes wont to do.

Max Roach Quartet
Köln, Germany

01 It's Time
02 Drums In Five
03 St. Louis Blues
04 Nommo/For Big Sid
05 'Round Midnight

Total time: 1:54:22
disc break goes after Track 03

Suleiman Hakim - alto saxophone
Clifford Adams - trombone
Calvin Hill - bass
Max Roach - drums

off-air master reel of the original NDR broadcast
slightly edited, denoised and remastered by EN, January 2024
720 MB FLAC/direct link

He sure loved to count those beats, I know that's right.

I'll return in a week with more, but make sure you honor the legacy of the great Max Roach on his centennial today, and get a taste of this brilliant 1977 show... it's two hours of what made him the towering figure he was and shall ever be!--J.

1.10.1924 - 8.16.2007

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