Being the mom of an up and coming jazz drummer means that I get to learn a lot about some of the greats, but in the case of Max Roach I already knew. I’d grown up surrounded by jazz — it was my father’s passion. Max Roach was one of his all-time favorite drummers, alongside Buddy Rich and I was lucky enough (though I didn’t know it at the time) to see him play in person on more than one occasion. At the time, I didn’t realize the greatness and breadth of his talent, but when Sticks started playing and studying the jazz greats, it slowly dawned.
Sticks’ passion for odd time signatures gave me a much deeper appreciation for Max Roach’s talent. Mr. Roach was a genius god of time and meter, painting landscapes with his sticks, brushes, drums and cymbals that were unparalleled by any other drummer. Ever. Sticks’ ability and passion to play melodies inside of drum solos comes from his year-long passionate affair with the Max Roach/Buddy Rich solos on the classic Buddy Rich versus Max Roach recording. Max Roach set a standard that is unique, unparalleled, and will stand forever for all time.
Rest in peace, Mr. Roach. There’s got to be one heck of a concert happening in heaven today.
Blogher: Max Roach Dies, and the Jazz Community Mourns (There are some great links in this post to other tributes, too)
Drummr.com: RIP, Max Roach
New York Times: Max Roach, Master of Modern Jazz, Dies at 83
Washington Post: Max Roach Dies at 83
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