Max Roach R.I.P.

maxroach.jpgIn the first music death that’s truly punched me in the gut in quite a while, drummer Max Roach, who left his rhythmic stamp on so much post-war jazz, passed on today. Over a career that stretched some 60-plus years, from young bebop turk to universally respected elder statesmen, political firebrand and restless intellectual Roach recorded numerous classic dates as a leader, worked as a sideman with enough giants to fill up a jazz textbook, and managed to swing with a heartstopping funkiness or a fingertip-tender caress whatever the mood of the date he was playing on or the musicians he found himself playing with. I’m planning on celebrating Mr. Roach tonight by cranking Money Jungle, his indelible trio record with Duke Ellington and Charles Mingus. If you’ve never heard it, I suggest you hit iTunes or the record shop on the way home from work and do the same. Roach was 83, and the cause of death has still yet to be announced.

Max Roach, A Founder Of Modern Jazz, Dies At 83 [New York Times]

  • JobCain

    great call on Money Jungle…African Flower is one of the most beautiful songs ever recorded, imo. Definitely sad news and I wish I had caught him at the Blue Note around 2000 before he got sick.
    thanks for posting on this, and remember that while he and Elvin and a lot of others are gone, you can still see Roy Haynes, Joe Chambers, Jimmy Cobb et al.

  • Juancho

    Miles Davis said of that record, “Aw, you see how they can fuck up modern music?”, so that’s reason alone to check it out.

    R.I.P., Max. Play one with Clifford for me.

  • the rich girls are weeping

    Remember when he was on Sesame Street? A friend’s looked for the clip on youtube, but it’s nowhere to be found. Boo.

    However, there’s plenty of other AWESOME clips of Roach in action on the ‘tube.

  • DaeSu

    All praises due, Max. I’ll be listening to “Alone Together: Clifford Brown and Max Roach — The Best of the Mercury Years” tonight, and thinking of you.

  • TurdsAndWhey

    I will likely play Monk’s ‘Brilliant Corners’ album, with a very young Max Roach becoming one with the envelope.

    Many future jazz stars in the late 40s-50s came to New York through the auspices of Julliard. I could be wrong, but I think Max is one of the few ones, if not the only one, who stuck it out and graduated.

    Can’t grieve for a life well-lived.

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous Communist

    I have “Money Jungle” on vinyl. I’ve never listened to it, though, because I don’t have a turntable. I’m heading to iTunes now.