RIP Max Roach…

Max Roach, jazz legend, bop pioneer and possibly the greatest drum soloist of all time died today.

There are so few great drum soloists, and by drum soloists, I don’t mean metal drummers playing really fast rudiments round the kit and then twirling their sticks. I mean kit drummers who can play solo compositions. Terry Bozzio does it, and there’s a great drummer in Denmark whose name escapes me but I’ve got an album by who does it too, and a handful of others, but Max was the daddy, for sure.

There are so few musicians of his generation left – Sonny Rollins is still going… i can’t think of many other jazz legends that were active in the early 50s that are out there. Every year we lose a few more. I never got to see Max Roach play. I saw Rollins play a few years ago, and though his band were pretty uninspiring, it was still a joy to hear THAT sound, that phrasing live. I got to play with Elvin Jones before he died, at a masterclass – I was rubbish, that much is a given, but it was still a huge honour and i’ve blogged before about what an amazing lesson it was for me in the generousity of spirit of truly great musicians…

Anyway, two bits of Max Roachness – first, here’s Questlove from The Roots talking about Max, and then here’s a clip from YouTube of Max playing a hi-hat solo.