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Night Lights Classic Jazz

Portrait of Max: Max Roach, 1924-2007

Max RoachMax Roach was a revolutionary bebop drummer, a leader of the classic Clifford Brown-Sonny Rollins hardbop quintet, a social activist, jazz educator and intellectual, a forerunner of Do-It-Yourself recording, and an explorer of the avant-garde…among other things. Max Roach contained multitudes, and his death in August of 2007 reverberated across the jazz world as if it were a long solo being played on a cosmic drumset. This program, an audio snapshot of his career on record, features his work with pianists Herbie Nichols and Bud Powell, his hardbop configurations with Clifford Brown and Sonny Rollins, a well-honed bebop moment (“Kim” with Charlie Parker), a side with trumpeter Booker Little, a choral arrangement from his 1971 album Lift Every Voice and Sing, and two later works–one with his percussion ensemble M’Boom, the other a tour de force drum-solo performance.

You can hear other Max Roach recordings in many previous programs from the Night Lights archives, including his legendary 1962 encounter with Duke Ellington and Max Roach (Money Jungle), part of his landmark Freedom Now Suite (We Shall Overcome: Civil-Rights Jazz), his 1980s double-quartet (A Jazzy Quartet), his explosive 1945 debut with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie (At the Birth of Bop), and late-career duo performances with Gillespie and Anthony Braxton (Duets: Two Degrees of Separation).

Air date: Saturday, October 13, 2007.

Music Heard On This Episode

Un Poco Loco
Bud Powell — The Amazing Bud Powell V. 1 (Blue Note, 1951)
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Un Poco Loco
Bud Powell — The Amazing Bud Powell V. 1 (Blue Note, 1951)

Notes: With Max Roach on drums and cowbell.

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Kim
Charlie Parker — Charlie Parker (Verve, 1953)

Notes: With Max Roach on drums.

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Sweet Clifford
Clifford Brown/Max Roach — Brown and Roach Inc. (EmArcy, 1954)
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The Spinning Song
Herbie Nichols — Complete Blue Note Recordings (Blue Note, 1956)

Notes: With Max Roach on drums.

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Little Folks
Max Roach — Jazz in 3/4 Time (Mercury, 1957)

Notes: Roach composition. With Kenny Dorham on trumpet and Sonny Rollins on tenor sax.

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Dr. Free-zee
Max Roach — Max Roach + 4 (Mercury, 1956)

Notes: Midpoint music bed.

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A New Day
Booker Little — Out Front (Candid, 1961)

Notes: With Max Roach on drums.

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Troubled Waters
Max Roach — Lift Every Voice and Sing (Atlantic, 1971)

Notes: With the J.C. White Singers.

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Glorious Monster
Max Roach/M'Boom — M'Boom (Columbia, 1979)

Notes: Max Roach composition.

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The Smoke That Thunders
Max Roach — Survivors (Soul Note, 1984)

Notes: Max Roach drum solo/composition.

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David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

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