Known for a layered style that was as much melodic and full of tonal color as it was rhythmic and steady, Roach is among the few musicians who brought about stylistic changes to jazz. His bebop and hard bop styles continue to be the standard in jazz to this day.
Born in North Carolina to a mother who was a gospel singer, he grew up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. A few years after taking piano lessons, he took up the drums at the age of 10.
From the start of his music career, Roach was involved in numerous situations that would later be designated historic. As a teenager in the early 1940s, he was part of the dawn of bebop, drumming with alto saxophonist Charlie Parker in clubs on such benchmarks of the style as "Woody 'n' You," "Koko" and "Now's the Time."
Roach worked with Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell on their earliest recordings and was part of Miles Davis' "Birth of the Cool" sessions in 1949 and 1950. He co-founded Debut Records with Charles Mingus to give musicians control over their recordings.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
MAX ROACH, 83
The jazz drummer died in his sleep on Thursday. He'd been ill for some time. Variety's obit includes these facts:
Part of the dawn of bebop. A great way to be remembered.