Max Roach died over a week ago at age 83 from alzheimer's disease, and Amy Goodman at Democracy Now! devoted an entire segment to his memory and memorial at the Riverside Church here in New York City. It's not to be missed, as she's joined by poet and playwright, Amiri Baraka, and jazz historian and DJ at WKCR, Phil Schaap. They have wonderful footage of Max's memorial service, where Amiri recites a poem he wrote for Max's 75th birthday, Maya Angelou speaks of her close relationship with the great drummer, and Bill Cosby tells the story of giving up his dream of playing the drums after seeing Max perform.
In addition, Phil Schaap hosted a nearly week-long Max Roach memorial special on WKCR, and posted below are a few excerpts of Max talking about his life and career (with additional commentary by the late, great, swing-era saxophonist, Haywood Henry, who shared a birthday (January 10, 1994 - the day the following interview was recorded).
Clip #1: Max speaks about his early training and first gig with Duke Ellington.
Clip #2: Max speaks further about his early training (con't).
Clip #3: Max speaks about musical techniques (ghosting notes).
Clip #4: Haywood asks Max why he thinks all drummers sound the same these days.
Clip #5: Max speaks about what connects all black people.
Clip #6: Max and Haywood speak about their family histories.
Clip #7: Max and Haywood speak about the origin of their family names.
Clip #8: Max speaks about his sports background growing up in Brooklyn.
Clip #9: Max talks about the portable drum set that Gretsch manufactured for him in the '50's.
Kellen Yamanaka over at Song with Orange has written some wonderful words about the great man, while posting an important list of links to Max tributes. Don't miss them!
In the meantime, you can check out this classic Max Roach master solo performance from 1968:
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