Max Roach…My Favorite Drummer
In my opinion Max Roach was the finest Post-Bop drummers in the 50’s. A Pioneer of Bebop, a member of the 52nd. Avenue set. He had formed a “Super Group” with the infamous Clifford Brown, and if that band had been able to stay together, the jazz world would be much different from what it is now. Interestingly few of his groups after his Brown/Roach quintet days had a pianist, making for an open ensemble sound in which the drums played a prominent role. My question is have you discovered his music?
A significant innovation that Max Roach made in the 1940s, was when he and jazz drummer Kenny Clarke invented a new concept of musical time. By playing the beat-by-beat pulse of standard 4/4 time on the “ride” cymbal instead of on the thudding bass drum, Roach and Clarke developed a flexible, flowing rhythmic pattern that allowed soloists to play freely. This new approach was a perfect set-up for the free blowing sessions that Bebop was to herald forth. This new method also left space for the drummer to insert dramatic accents on the snare drum, “crash” cymbal and other components of the trap set. If you are a lover of “Classic Jazz” some of his music must be in your collection.