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By Culturekiosque Staff

NEW YORK, 17 AUGUST 2007— Legendary jazz drummer Max Roach died Wednesday night in New York City at the age of 83. According to a press statement from Blue Note Records, the jazz percussionist and composer died in his sleep. Along with drummer Kenny Clarke, Max Roach redefined the role of the drums in Jazz during the bebop revolution of the late-1940s and early-50s, participating in many of the movement’s seminal recordings with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk. In the mid-50s, Roach co-led a quintet with Clifford Brown that was one of hard bop’s premiere bands up until the trumpeter’s untimely death in a car accident in 1956.

A native of North Carolina and a self-taught musical prodigy, Roach was also an outspoken advocate for civil rights and racial equality, and in 1960 he created one the great protest records with We Insist! Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite, a seven-part suite featuring vocalist Abbey Lincoln that addressed slavery and racism in America.

In 1988, Max Roach was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship  "genius award," in recognition of his distinguished contributions to American cultural life. He was the first jazz musician to receive this prize.

Services for Max Roach will be held on Friday, 24 August 2007 at 11:00 am at Riverside Church, New York City.

Related CK Archives

Interview with Max Roach: From Hip Hop to Bebop

Essential Jazz Recordings of the 20th Century

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