Max Roach

Max Roach was one of the group of musicians that established bebop as the dominant force in Jazz music in the mid 40s. By the early 40s he was sitting in at Monroe's Uptown House and Minton's Playhouse, as one of the musicians who helped to invent bop. Along with fellow drummer Kenny Clarke he established a new rhythmic vocabulary. In the early 40s Roach got jobs with veterans of the swing era such as Benny Carter and Coleman Hawkins ('43), then his style changed when he joined the likes of Dizzy Gillespie ('44) and Charlie Parker ('45) His work from this period in particular demonstrates his inventiveness and masterly technique. From '48-50 he was a member of Miles Davis' group and participated in the legendary Birth of the Cool sessions. Although he was a revolutionary influence on the young drummers of his time, after the bop period, he was the only drummer (except for Art Blakey) to operate consistently as a working band leader. Famous is of course his collaboration with the legendary Clifford Brown, and the Brown-Roach Quintet was one of the most musically inventive bands of the decade. Brown's sudden death in 1956 had a profound influence on him. It took Roach several years to overcome this loss but in the late 50s and early 60s Roach's Quintet included such artists as Kenny Dorham and Sonny Rollins. All through his career a wide variety of promising young artists passed through the band's ranks and were subjected to his musical influence. He became involved in political issues and civil rights and began composing. Inevitably his work of this period took on elements of his commitment to Civil Rights issues.
Go to Max Roach's page at emusic for free MP3 downloads
Recommended recordings
Deeds not Words  OJC 
Max Roach Plus 4 Verve
Alone Together,  Best of the Mercury Years Verve
At Basin Street Live Verve
M'Boom Columbia
Percussion Bitter Sweet Impulse
Study in Brown Verve
More Study in Brown Verve
Brown and Roach Inc. Verve
Clifford Brown and Max Roach  Verve
Speak Brother Speak OJC
The Best of Max Roach and Clifford Brown in Concert GNP/Crescendo
Birth and Rebirth Black Saint