Friday, August 17, 2007

Max Roach

Max passed away yesterday in NYC - this was a big loss to the world of Jazz.
I grew up in a music oriented family and was a music major in college - and of course, I am a Drummer.
I can say that in percussion - there have only been a select few individuals how have been able to influence my playing. Mostly, I find inspiration from a song, a riff, a style, a group, or even listening to natural patterns found in both rural and urban areas. The individuals who were able to shape my musical perceptions and development were my Father, Buddy Rich, Dave Weckel, Chad Smith, Carter Beauford, Louis Bellson, Gene Crupa and Max Roach.
Max's contribution would have been great without his solo efforts, his place in immortalized jazz history would have been solidified. His work starting in the 40's and into the 50's defined what modern drumming has evolved into today - and his solo efforts helped to stretch what was possible. His album revolving around 3/4 time showed me that there are no restrictions, and that you can always do something different and even in the world of music - out of the box thinking is still possible. The style of playing was something that I was never able to create an internal comfort level with - but layed the groundwork for my now infamous 6/8 latin jazz efforts.
Innovation, constant change, constant re-definition, new standards. These are all values that I live by, and are all values that I learned from music. This is what Max did for Jazz, and how he influenced me.

Rest in peace Max, you've earned it.

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