Max Roach was a true jazz drumming legend. May he rest in peace. At least his music will keep living so we can keep learning from him.
Mr. Roach was a founding architect of bebop, the high-speed, harmonically advanced music of the 1940s that helped elevate jazz from dance-hall entertainment to concert-stage art. In dozens of landmark recordings with such musical giants as Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk — including a 1953 performance that has entered legend as “the greatest jazz concert ever” — he pioneered a new approach to jazz drumming that remains the standard to this day.
The master percussionist whose rhythmic innovations and improvisations provided the dislocated beats that defined bebop jazz, died Thursday, Aug. 16, 2007, at an undisclosed hospital in Manhattan after a long illness. He was 83.
An influential force in music for 60 years, Mr. Roach expanded the borders of improvised music by incorporating elements of other artistic traditions, including African and Asian music, dance, poetry and hip-hop. He led performances with as many as 100 percussion instruments on stage, but he also played minimalist solos using only the high-hat, a pair of cymbals mounted on a metal stand and worked with a pedal.
The Washington Post: Max Roach Dies at 83
(Photo Credit: (Michael Kim – AP))