Friday, August 17, 2007

Max Roach R.I.P.

[[From Jess Harvell on only obit i could find that had a little soul. Basin Street cover photo one of my favorite pix of Max, by my friend Chuck Stewart. Max actually died on Thursday, but I just found out today.]]

In the first music death that's truly punched me in the gut in quite a while, drummer Max Roach, who left his rhythmic stamp on so much post-war jazz, passed on today. Over a career that stretched some 60-plus years, from young bebop turk to universally respected elder statesmen, political firebrand and restless intellectual, Roach recorded numerous classic dates as a leader, worked as a sideman with enough giants to fill up a jazz textbook, and managed to swing with a heartstopping funkiness or a fingertip-tender caress whatever the mood of the date he was playing on or the musicians he found himself playing with. I’m planning on celebrating Mr. Roach tonight by cranking Money Jungle, his indelible trio record with Duke Ellington and Charles Mingus. If you’ve never heard it, I suggest you hit iTunes or the record shop on the way home from work and do the same. Roach was 83, and the cause of death has still yet to be announced.