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Famous drummer


Max Roach

Full Name Maxwell Lemuel Roach

Born  Maxwell Lemuel Roach


In a profession star-crossed by early deaths especially the bebop division Max Roach at this writing is a shining survivor, one of the last living giants from the birth of bebop. He and Kenny Clarke instigated a revolution in jazz drumming that persists to this day; instead of the swing approach of spelling out the pulse with the bass drum, Roach shifted the emphasis to the ride cymbal. The result was a lighter, far more flexible texture, giving drummers more freedom to explore the possibilities of their drum kits and drop random "bombs" on the snare drum, while allowing bop virtuosos on the front lines to play at faster speeds. To this base, Roach added sterling qualities of his own a ferocious drive, the ability to play a solo with a definite storyline, mixing up pitches and timbres, the deft use of silence, the dexterity to use the brushes as brilliantly as the sticks. He would use cymbals as gongs and play mesmerizing solos on the tom-toms, creating atmosphere as well as keeping the groove pushing forward.

But Roach didn't stop there, unlike other jazz pioneers who changed the world when they were young yet became set in their ways as they grew older. He has always had the curiosity and the willingness to grow as a musician and as a man, moving beyond bop into new compositional structures, unusual instrument lineups, unusual time signatures, atonality, music for Broadway musicals, television, film and the symphony hall, even working with a rapper well ahead of the jazz/hip-hop merger. An outspoken man, he became a fervent supporter of civil rights and racial equality, and that no doubt hurt his career at various junctures. At one point in his militant period in 1961, he disrupted a Miles Davis/Gil Evans concert in Carnegie Hall by marching to the edge of the stage holding a "Freedom Now" placard protesting the Africa Relief Foundation. The All Music Guide



Behind the Scenes with Max Roach



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