Jazz drummer extraordinaire, Max Roach dies 83

Max RoachHard bob pioneer Max Roach died last week at 83 in Manhattan. His contributions to Jazz are immense, as he likely played on far more Jazz recordings than I knew about, over 70 in all. He’ll always be one of the top Jazz drummers, and someone I’ll listen to for the rest of my days, since his recordings touched so many classics. There some great background on his life and achievements out there, here are some select highlights. He got his first break at, “…_age 16, filling in for three nights in 1940 when Ellington’s drummer fell ill. Roach’s performance led him to the legendary Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem, where he joined luminaries Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie in the burgeoning bebop movement. In 1944, Roach joined Gillespie and Coleman Hawkins in one of the first bebop recording sessions.” _He was a giant in the jazz world, and seemed to play with all of the others during his lifetime, an amazing legacy. “On his way to becoming known as perhaps the greatest jazz drummer of all time, Roach collaborated with what seems like all of the budding superstars of the insular jazz world at the time, including Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie (who he joined for one of the first-ever bebop recording sessions), Miles Davis (Roach played on the 1949-1950 Birth of the Cool sessions), Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins, Bud Powell and Charles Mingus. In 1952, he and Mingus founded Debut Records, one of the first musician-run labels. One of the short-lived outfit’s most notable recordings was a Toronto performance featuring Roach, Mingus, Parker, Gillespie and Powell. Roach formed a “hard bop” quintet with trumpet player Clifford Brown (ed- and Richie Powell) in 1954

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