By Edgar Roman
Max Roach Approached by The Jazz Jousters marks their 15th release of their “Lab-Off Sessions” series. This time they present us a 5 song-ep that features production from Es-K, Gadget, The Specialists, Bones The BeatHead, and Blue Buttonz, who together pay tribute to American jazz percussionist, drummer, and composer – Max Roach.
Max Roach is credited for helping “revolutionize the sound of modern jazz,” namely as the pioneer of Bebop music. Roach worked alongside many jazz musicians including Booker Little, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus to name a few, and went onto release over 50 album as a solo (0r leader) from 1958-2002, and over 40 albums as a collaborator and sideman with aforementioned jazz legends.
Not only was Max Roach a musician, he was also an educator and activist who played a prominent role in the “struggle for black liberation” in the US and in Africa. Using his music as a catalyst for social change, Max recorded “We Insist: Freedom Now Suite” in 1960 and released under Candid Records. The album cover makes reference to the “sit-in movement” of the Civil Right Movement. “We Insist” remains to this date as “one of the most moving musical pieces to come out of the black liberation movement.” In an interview with Beat Magazine during the release of “We Insist,” Max Roach said: “I will never again play anything that does not have social significance.”
At the time of his death in August 16, 2007 – Max had been given a “genius” grant by the MacArthur Foundation in 1988, the first to be won by a jazz musician. He also had been awarded eight honorary doctorate degrees by universities: CUNY, Bologna, Italy, and Columbia. In 2009 he was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame, his birth state.
For more info on Max Roach, please see stated sources.