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Drummer Max Roach’s music also has a political dimension

tue 14 dec 2021
Theme: Jazz

Saturday 18th December 2021, 17:00 – House of Hard Bop. Hardbop drummer Max Roach  honoured Charlie Parker in 1957. A few years later he was in the studio with among others vocalist Abbey Lincoln and percussionist ‘Patato’ Valdés.

Max Roach was one of the founding fathers of bop drumming in the 40’s. Swingdrummers played four in a bar on the bass drum, Roach – and Kenny Clarke! – moved the timekeeping to the ride cymbals and hihat. Bass drum and snare are now used for flexible, surprising accents in close interaction with the soloists. Sounds ‘normal’ now, but then it was something! The studio recordings from 26th November 1945 voor Savoy, ‘Charlie Parker’s Reboppers’, with Roach on drums, were also a breakthrough in this regard.

The Max Roach Four Plays Charlie Parker, with among others trumpeter Kenny Dorham and tenor Hank Mobley – but without piano -, is a tribute to Parker. The recordings are from 1957-58. The string of Parker pieces gave plenty of solo opportunities for Roach, although the drumwork is just as clear in sound colour and razor sharp in articulation.  Roach’s performance in the breakneck-tempo of KoKo is impressive.

With Percussion Bitter Sweet (1961) we reach an another level in the impressive Max Roach repertoire. For a series of his own compositions he lines up four winds, two percussionists and vocalist Abbey Lincoln. His music now has a political aspect. The text for Mendacity sung by Lincoln (written by “Chips” Bayen) is about the untruthfulness of politicians. Eric Dolphy’s solo in this piece is unbelievably gripping. And of course the drummer solos once again, sometimes supported by bass or percussion.

House of Hard Bop – a programme by Eric Ineke