Jazz Legend Max Roach Dies at 83

Drummer and percussion virtuoso Max Roach died on August 16, 2007 in New York.

He was born on January 10, 1924 in New Land, North Carolina. The Roach family later relocated to Brooklyn, New York.

Maxwell studied the piano with his aunt at the Baptist Church and at 8 years of age starting playing the drum set. At age 17 Roach performed with Duke Ellington and stated “Whether I could play or not, they thought I could play, because I’d been with the master”. Roach a master in his own imaginative way demonstrated his ethnic spirituality by various contributions to bebop, hard bop and jazz. Roach was part of the musical family associated with Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Mingus, Clifford Brown, Sonny Rollins & Irakere and more.

He received the Obie award ’85, the MacArthur Foundation genius grant ‘88, NEA Jazz Masters award, a Commander of Arts and Letters from the French government and doctorates.

In the Manhattan School of Music, Roach’s teacher stated his technique was incorrect. Thank you Maxwell Roach for having that great incorrect technique.