Saturday, 18 August 2007

Memories of Max

I only once had the pleasure of hearing Max Roach live , at the Haymarket Theatre in Leicester when his quartet with Odean Pope did a Contemporary Music Network tour. After the gig, in which Max charmed us all with his solo 'Papa Jo' party piece, which finished with him playing the hi-hat with a cloth, a few of us were allowed into his dressing room, carrying lps for him to sign.

The guy in front of me had one of those Italian Deja Vu near-bootlegs with the black covers; 'We never got paid for this album' said Max, but graciously signed it anyway. I'd taken along the Hat duo album with Archie Shepp- the Long March; he looked up at me questioningly: 'Do you like this?' and signed it: Thank You. Max Roach 10/15/89.

It's one of the many Max Roach records I'd not want to live without, together with the Bird/Diz Koko session, the recently discovered 1945 Town Hall concert, the Massey Hall concert, Saxophone Colossus, the Freedom Suite, pretty much everything by the Roach/Clifford Brown quintet. And the trios with Bud Powell Herbie Nichols & Sonny Clark. In fact it's just occurred to me that if I could keep records featuring one drummer only, it would be Max.

Dizzy Gillespie once said : Kenny Clarke was the godfather, Art Blakey was the hurricane, Max Roach was the poet.

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