Thursday, August 16, 2007


Max Roach, 1924 - 2007

Another one of my all-time favorites has left this plane. As a teen, I wanted to be a drummer like Max Roach or Art Blakely. Alas, my folks thought the kits too expensive and I was stuck with guitar and bass. Every once in awhile, even at my age, I still daydream about hitting the skins. Then I hear a real master like Roach on CD and tell myself "fuhgeddaboutit!"

Since most of today's pop music is propelled by the electronic or small-kit version of troglodytes banging on boulders with animal bones, it's hard for many modern ears and brains to understand the drum set as actual musical instrument; a constructive and essential member of the jazz combo and composition, as opposed to the glorified metronomic background bashing of talentless pop acts.

A listen to any classic album with Max Roach is definitely a musical education that will make you look at puerile rock "drum solos" with crossed-eyes.

Alas, another great one has moved on and we're left with American Idol simpletons. Sigh ...

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