Max Roach Quartet – live at Loosdrecht Jazz Festival 1972 – August 10, 1972 – VPRO – Netherlands
Max Roach in concert this weekend. Recorded at the 1972 Loosdrecht Jazz Festival by VPRO in The Netherlands.
He is joined by Cecil Bridgewater on trumpet, Billy Harper on tenor Sax and Reggie Workman on bass.
Max Roach’s most significant innovations came in the 1940s, when he and Kenny Clarke devised 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 also created space for the drummer to insert dramatic accents on the snare drum, crash cymbal, and other components of the trap set.
By matching his rhythmic attack with a tune’s melody, Roach brought a newfound subtlety of expression to the drums. He often shifted the dynamic emphasis from one part of his drum kit to another within a single phrase, creating a sense of tonal color and rhythmic surprise. Roach said of the drummer’s unique positioning, “In no other society do they have one person play with all four limbs.”
While this is common today, when Clarke and Roach introduced the concept in the 1940s it was revolutionary. “When Max Roach’s first records with Charlie Parker were released by Savoy in 1945”, jazz historian Burt Korall wrote in the Oxford Companion to Jazz, “drummers experienced awe and puzzlement and even fear.” One of those drummers, Stan Levey, summed up Roach’s importance: “I came to realize that, because of him, drumming no longer was just time, it was music.”
In 1966, with his album Drums Unlimited (which includes several tracks that are entirely drum solos) he demonstrated that drums can be a solo instrument able to play theme, variations, and rhythmically cohesive phrases. Roach described his approach to music as “the creation of organized sound.” The track “The Drum Also Waltzes” was often quoted by John Bonham in his Moby Dick drum solo and revisited by other drummers, including Neil Peart and Steve Smith. Bill Bruford performed a cover of the track on the 1985 album Flags.
Crank it up and enjoy.
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