- NAME: Max Roach
- OCCUPATION: Educator, Civil Rights Activist, Songwriter, Drummer
- BIRTH DATE: January 10, 1924
- DEATH DATE: August 16, 2007
- Did You Know?: Max Roach had a cameo in the film Carmen Jones.
- EDUCATION: Manhattan School of Music
- PLACE OF BIRTH: New Land, North Carolina
- PLACE OF DEATH: New York, New York
- AKA: Maxwell Roach
- AKA: Max Roach
- Full Name: Maxwell Lemuel Roach
Best Known For
A pioneer of the bebop style, drummer Max Roach spent decades creating innovative jazz.
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In 1988, Roach received a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant," the first given to a jazz musician.
Roach's adaptability and inventiveness spurred him to work on an increasingly diverse list of projects. In 1970, he founded M'Boom,
an all-percussion group. Roach also composed for choreographer Alvin Ailey and created music for plays written by Sam Shepard (his work with Shepard garnered Roach an Obie Award). His other collaborators include hip-hop artists Fab Five Freddy, writer Toni Morrison (Roach provided musical accompaniment at her spoken word concerts), Japanese taiko drummers and avant-garde instrumentalists Cecil Taylor and Anthony Braxton.
Roach gave his last concert in 2000 and made his final recording in 2002.He suffered from a neurological disorder for an extended period before his death in New York City on August 16, 2007, at the age of 83. All three of Roach's marriages ended in divorce, but he was survived by two sons and three daughters.
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With its roots in the blues, jazz has been referred to as America's classical music, yet has also become a major global phenomenon, branching off into a variety of forms. Earlier pioneers like Scott Joplin and Jelly Roll Morton paved the way for the swinging big-band sounds of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. In contrast, contemporaries Dizzie Gillespie, Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk developed bebop, with its speedy, dissonant harmonies and improvisations. And Miles Davis heralded the birth of cool jazz, modal jazz and fusion at different points in his career. Famous jazz instrumentalists have tended to be male, yet women have been at the forefront of the genre when it comes to vocalization, from the brassy blues of Bessie Smith to the haunting eclecticism of Nina Simone.
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