41 Facts About Max Roach


Maxwell Lemuel Roach was an American jazz drummer and composer.


Max Roach worked with many famous jazz musicians, including Clifford Brown, Coleman Hawkins, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Abbey Lincoln, Dinah Washington, Charles Mingus, Billy Eckstine, Stan Getz, Sonny Rollins, Eric Dolphy, and Booker Little.


Max Roach was inducted into the DownBeat Hall of Fame in 1980 and the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1992.


Max Roach made numerous musical statements relating to the civil rights movement.


Max Roach was born to Alphonse and Cressie Roach in the Township of Newland, Pasquotank County, North Carolina, which borders the southern edge of the Great Dismal Swamp.


Max Roach's family moved to the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, when he was four years old.


Max Roach grew up in a musical home with his gospel singer mother.


Max Roach started to play bugle in parades at a young age.


Max Roach was one of the first drummers, along with Kenny Clarke, to play in the bebop style.


Max Roach performed in bands led by Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Coleman Hawkins, Bud Powell, and Miles Davis.


Max Roach played on many of Parker's most important records, including the Savoy Records November 1945 session, which marked a turning point in recorded jazz.


Max Roach nurtured an interest in and respect for Afro-Caribbean music and traveled to Haiti in the late 1940s to study with the traditional drummer Ti Roro.


Max Roach studied classical percussion at the Manhattan School of Music from 1950 to 1953, working toward a Bachelor of Music degree.


In 1952, Max Roach co-founded Debut Records with bassist Charles Mingus.


Max Roach participated in the legendary bebop summit concert that produced the Jazz at Massey Hall recordings of 1953.


Max Roach appeared with Washington at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1958, which was filmed, and at the 1954 live studio audience recording of Dinah Jams, considered to be one of the best and most overlooked vocal jazz albums of its genre.


Long involved in jazz education, in 1972 Max Roach was recruited to the faculty of the University of Massachusetts Amherst by Chancellor Randolph Bromery.


Max Roach created memorable compositions in these solo concerts, and a solo record was released by the Japanese jazz label Baystate.


Max Roach created duets with other performers, including: a recorded duet with oration of the "I Have a Dream" speech by Martin Luther King Jr.


Max Roach was composer and musical director for a festival of Shepard plays, called "ShepardSets", at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club in 1984.


Max Roach found new contexts for performance, creating unique musical ensembles.


Not content to expand on the music he was already known for, Max Roach spent the 1980s and 1990s finding new forms of musical expression and performance.


Max Roach performed a concerto with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.


Max Roach wrote for and performed with the Walter White gospel choir and the John Motley Singers.


Max Roach expressed the insight that there was a strong kinship between the work of these young black artists and the art he had pursued all his life.


Max Roach performed with the Beijing Trio, with pianist Jon Jang and erhu player Jeibing Chen.


Max Roach's final recording, Friendship, was with trumpeter Clark Terry.


In 1994, Max Roach appeared on Rush drummer Neil Peart's Burning For Buddy, performing "The Drum Also Waltzes" Parts 1 and 2 on Volume 1 of the 2-volume tribute album during the 1994 All-Star recording sessions.


Max Roach died of complications related to Alzheimer's and dementia in Manhattan in the early morning of August 16,2007.


Max Roach was survived by five children: sons Daryl and Raoul, and daughters Maxine, Ayo, and Dara.


Max Roach was interred at the Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx.


Max Roach had four grandchildren: Kyle Maxwell Roach, Kadar Elijah Roach, Maxe Samiko Hinds, and Skye Sophia Sheffield.


Max Roach's godson is artist, filmmaker and hip-hop pioneer, Fab Five Freddy.


Max Roach identified himself as a Muslim in an early 1970s interview with Art Taylor.


Max Roach started as a traditional grip player but used matched grip as well as his career progressed.


Max Roach often shifted the dynamic emphasis from one part of his drum kit to another within a single phrase, creating a sense of tonal color and rhythmic surprise.


Max Roach was given a MacArthur Genius Grant in 1988 and cited as a Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France in 1989.


Max Roach was twice awarded the French Grand Prix du Disque, was elected to the International Percussive Art Society's Hall of Fame and the DownBeat Hall of Fame, and was awarded Harvard Jazz Master.


Max Roach was celebrated by Aaron Davis Hall and was given eight honorary doctorate degrees, including degrees awarded by Medgar Evers College, CUNY, the University of Bologna, and Columbia University, in addition to his alma mater, the Manhattan School of Music.


Max Roach spent his later years living at the Mill Basin Sunrise assisted living home in Brooklyn, and was honored with a proclamation honoring his musical achievements by Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz.


Max Roach was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 2009.