Max Roach


max-roachMax Roach (1924-2007) was born in North Carolina and raised in New York City. A pioneer of bebop, Roach went on to work in many other styles of music, and is generally considered one of the most important drummers in jazz history. He worked with many famous jazz musicians, including Coleman Hawkins, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, Sonny Rollins and Clifford Brown.

Max Roach - Episode 1

Roach's most significant innovations came in the 1940s, when he and jazz drummer Kenny Clarke devised a new concept of musical time by playing the pulse of time on the ride cymbal instead of on the bass drum. The new approach left space for the drummer to insert dramatic accents on the snare drum, bass drum, and cymbals. By matching his rhythms with a tune's melody he created a new way to accompany soloists in the angular and highly rhythmic bebop style. Roach did this with great subtlety and often shifted the dynamic emphasis from one part of his drum kit to another within a single phrase, creating a sense of tonal color and rhythmic surprise. Roach played on many of Parker's most important records, including the November 1945 Savoy session (Ko-Ko) which was a turning point in modern jazz.
CompositionArtistYear
Disorder at the BorderMax Roach/Coleman Hawkins1944
Woody'n YouMax Roach/Coleman Hawkins1944
Buh Dee DahtMax Roach/Coleman Hawkins1944
Ko-KoMax Roach/Charlie Parker1945
CrazeologyMax Roach/Charlie Parker1947
Bird Gets the WormMax Roach/Charlie Parker1947

Max Roach - Episode 2

The large number of important and grounding breaking recordings that Roach played on is a testament to his ability as a drummer. He was one of the most sought after musician in jazz for over 4 decades. In 1952, Roach co-founded Debut Records with bassist Charles Mingus. This label released a record of a May 15, 1953 concert which came to be known as Jazz at Massey Hall, featuring Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Mingus and Roach. Also released on this label was the groundbreaking bass-and-drum free improvisation, “Percussion Discussion.”
CompositionArtistAlbumYear
MoveMax Roach/Fats Navarro1948
MoveMaz Roach/Miles Davis NonetBirth of the Cool1949
Tempus FugitMax Roach/Bud Powell Trio1949
Salt PeanutsMax Roach/Quintet of the YearJazz at Massey Hall1953
MildamaMax Roach/Clifford BrownBrown & Roach Incorporated1954

Max Roach - Episode 3

As the bop era progressed into the late '50s, Roach was known for "hard bop" and experimentation on albums such as Max Roach Plus Four (1956), Deeds Not Words (1958) and Max (1958). He also continued his collaborations with Sonny Rollins. In June 1956 he played on Sonny Rollins' groundbreaking solo album, Saxophone Colossus. A brilliant showcase of material, Roach's performance on the album Blue 7 "shows," as Gunther Sculler commented in Jazz Panorama, "that exciting drum solos need not be just an un-thinking burst of energy - they can be interesting and meaningful compositions.” In February of 1958, Roach and Oscar Pettiford formed a trio with Rollins for the saxophonist's celebrated Riverside album, Freedom Suite.
CompositionArtistAlbumYear
Parisian ThoroughfareMax Roach/Clifford BrownMax Roach/Clifford Brown Quintet1954
DelilahMax Roach/Clifford BrownMax Roach/Clifford Brown Quintet1954
Blue SevenMax Roach/Sonny RollinsSaxophone Colossus1956
The Freedom SuiteMax Roach/Sonny RollinsFreedom Suite1958
A Little MaxMax Roach/Duke Ellington/MingusMoney Jungle1962

Max Roach - Episode 4

This podcast will feature some of Max Roach’s most important solo work. Max was a pioneer soloist, playing melodies on entire the drum set. We start with his 1953 Jazz at Massey Hall solo and move through Drums Unlimited featuring his most important solo piece, “For Big Sid” dedicated to legendary drummer Big Sid Catlett.
CompositionArtistAlbumYear
Drum ConversationBud PowellJazz at Massey Hall V.21953
Drums UnlimitedMax RoachDrums Unlimited1966
The Drum Also WaltzesMax RoachDrums Unlimited1966
For Big SidMax RoachDrums Unlimited1966
Mop MopMax Roach QuartetMax Roach Again1964

Clifford Brown


Brown 6Born in Wilmington Delaware in 1930, Clifford Brown was possibly the most influential jazz trumpeter of his generation. His life was cut short in an auto accident in 1956 when he was 26 years old. Even with such a short career his legacy is huge and he left a large body of recorded work starting in the early 1950’s until the day before his tragic death. He possessed great technique, a beautiful big sound, and was a great admirer of both Dizzy Gillespie and Fats Navarro.

Clifford Brown - Episode 1

CompositionArtistAlbumYear
Blues WalkClifford BrownStudy in Brown1955
AnthropologyFats Navarro and Tadd Dameron1948
Get HappyClifford Brown and J.J. JohnsonThe Eminent Jay Jay vol. 11953
What Is This Thing Called LoveClifford Brown and the Max Roach QuintetAt Basic St.1956

Clifford Brown - Episode 2

In 1953 Clifford was a member of the Lionel Hampton Big Band that toured France, Denmark, Italy, and Sweden. While on the tour Clifford had ample opportunities to record with small groups comprised of local musicians and members of the Hampton Band. Hampton forbade his musicians from making these bootleg recordings, but many of the recordings have become classics. Brown and Max Roach spent much of 1954 and 1955 in Los Angeles making some of the Quintet’s best known recordings. In 1954 Clifford made a series of recordings with some west coast musicians including Zoot Sims. Here was the quintessential east coast hard bop trumpeter recording with west coast cool players! The results were outstanding. One of the trademarks of the Brown/Roach Quintet were the cleverly constructed introductions used on many of their recordings including “Take the A Train,” “Cherokee, “and Parisian Thoroughfare.”
CompositionArtistAlbumYear
S'cuse the BluesClifford BrownComplete Clifford Brown in Sweden1953
Blueberry HillClifford BrownClifford Brown Jazz Immortal1954
Joy SpringClifford BrownClifford Brown Jazz Immortal1954
CherokeeClifford BrownStudy in Brown1955
Parisian ThoroughfareClifford BrownClifford Brown and Max Roach Quintet1954
Joy SpringClifford BrownBrownie's Eyes1954

Clifford Brown - Episode 3

One Clifford’s most memorable albums was a collaboration with composer/arranger Neal Hefti on Clifford Brown with Strings. Here one can get the full impact of Clifford’s beautiful sound and great sense of phrasing. The quintet recordings set a standard for many years as the quintessential hard bop group. His playing set the groundwork for the next generation of trumpet players including Donald Byrd, Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard, and Booker Little.
CompositionArtistAlbumYear
If I Love AgainClifford BrownStudy in Brown1955
Memories of YouClifford BrownClifford Brown with Strings1955
StardustClifford BrownClifford Brown with Strings1955
I'll Remember AprilClifford BrownClifford Brown and Max Roach at Basin St.1956
DahoudClifford BrownClifford Brown and Max Roach Quintet1954