Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Monday, August 20, 2007

Darcy James Argue has a beautiful tribute to Max Roach’s career.

He also has the roundup of Roach tributes.

Doug Ramsey has wonderful personal reminiscences of Roach.

Destination: OUT has terrific stuff on Roach’s post-bop years.

I haven't heard the gamut of Roach's musical travels, but from surveying the discography it appears he was at least as wide-ranging stylistically as Miles Davis. As many others have pointed out, he more-or-less invented bop drumming and influenced all contemporary-style jazz drumming for the next 25 years and most of it since then as well, and he did this in his early 20s.

And he didn't stop there.

My favorite album of his -- of the ones I've heard -- is Lift Every Voice and Sing, an early '70s collaboration with the J. C. White Singers -- one of my all-time favorite albums by anybody anywhere. It's 5 traditional spirituals and one original gospel tune sung by a hot gospel choir and accompanied by a fierce, outside, free jazz sextet that could also play it straight with conviction and accomplishment. When the choir sustains a richly-timbred chord for the band to rage under -- it's hair-raising. Gospel can make most rock and roll sound tame; combine a powerful choir with a passionate "out" jazz ensemble -- there's nothing like it.

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