Max Roach Talking Jazz
Max Roach was the first of the new breed of jazz drummers to emerge during the late ‘40's and early ‘50's. Schooled in the traditional jazz techniques of the late ‘30's big band era, when musicians often played in large vaudeville theaters and tap dancers were known to trade "fours" with the rhythm section, he went on to become the perfect foil for Charlie Parker's new rhythmic conception. He carried forward the styles of Baby Dodds, Big Sid Catlett, Chick Webb and Kenny Clark and re-invented the role of the drum kit, making it a melodic instrument on a par with other front line soloists. Max was in very good spirits when we met at a recording studio in Manhattan. His ears are always open to new sounds and environmental influences to add to his drum technique, and, clearly, he felt that today's music is a fertile field in which to grow. He has recorded more during the past few years -- with his various large and small ensembles -- than ever before. Although we had not met previously, he made me feel like an old friend, complimenting me on some of my own past recordings and including me in the great body of ongoing jazz works. Perhaps more than anything, this is his current mission: to keep the long revolution marching forward to a new beat.