Personalities | Max Roach | Forties | Jazz & Blues
(Drums, b. 1924)
Along with Kenny Clarke, Max Roach shares the credit for inventing bebop drumming. When Clarke found himself drafted in 1943, it was Roach who emerged as the leading activist in the search for a drum style to suit the emerging melodic and harmonic complexities of the new music. He developed an approach that was both powerful and flexible enough to match the invention of Charlie Parker or Dizzy Gillespie, while at the same time elevating the drummer to equal status with the front-line soloists for the first time in jazz.
He founded Debut Records with Charles Mingus in 1952 and went on to establish himself as a major bandleader in his own right, beginning in 1954 with a famous group co-led with trumpeter Clifford Brown. He has remained a creative force through decades of stylistic shifts in jazz and has continued to absorb new influences into his ever-evolving music.
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