Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Max Roach

Sonny Rollins's "St. Thomas", recorded in 1956, is a beloved jazz classic, not least for that inimitable Sonny sound. As a melodist, improviser, and pure player, he's in a league with Louis Armstrong and few others. Still, listen again for Max Roach's drum solo, a concise masterpiece that communicates the lilting calypso melody via some kind of weird rhythmic induction. Roach was a genius, not only for helping invent bebop, but for making percussion a source of color, not just shape, in jazz.

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