RIP Max Roach

// August 17th, 2007


Legendary jazz drummer, Max Roach, one of the greatest drummers ever & one of my personal music idols, passed away yesterday at the age of 83.

As one of the most prolific jazzmen of the bebop era, Roach played with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, Sonny Rollins & Clifford Brown.

Among these collaborations, Max Roach was part of the “greatest concert ever,” Jazz at Massey Hall, which featured the quintet of Charlie Parker on alto sax, Dizzie Gillespie on trumpet, Bud Powell on piano, Charles Mingus on bass, and Roach on drums. He was also known as being part of the amazing yet short-lived Clifford Brown / Max Roach quintet, which sadly came to an end with Clifford Brown’s untimely death.

Roach moved on to leading his own groups as well as composing several musical pieces dedicated to the civil rights movement including 1960’s We Insist! Freedom Now Suite with Oscar Brown.

WKCR’s Phil Schaap, one of the great jazz historians & radio hosts, put it best in saying

The world’s greatest living drummer just passed

Sadly, we’ll no longer hear Phil’s words every morning during his show Birdflight, “Good morning Max!” but we know Max is back with that great quintet in the sky now.

Max Roach drum solo

Max Roach w/ Dinah Washington @ Newport