Friday, August 17, 2007

Max Roach Ascends

O! listening to Terence Blanchard on NPR I just heard that Max Roach died!

socially conscious innovator

I last saw him playing with Toni Morrison reading and Bill T. Jones dancing at Lincoln Center.
It was transcendent.

I first heard him in my mother's womb.
I am so grateful he was here.
I called my Daddy to mourn with him, to celebrate with him.
I told him Max had been sick, in hospice, that he was 83.

My Daddy taught me so much so much he shaped me, gave me ears, playing Max and Clifford Brown and dizzy and Miles and
MJQ and sonny rollins and Ben Webster and neary every name I know he taught me. He was a connoisseur of all things hip which in those days, were deep, spiritual and rigorous. And losing Max feeels like losing family, someone Daddy dug that I dug them too, then and always, because Max went out ( as in music) as I grew up. And I was demonstrating for freedom and agitating and his music affirmed all of that and more.

O Max! Thank you so much so much so much for creating such connection
and making the bright hot cool light of our yearning
and dreaming and striving,
Bless you.


Jeff said...

If you haven't already read them, try these links from the most recent edition of "Democracy Now!"...a veritable cornucopia of comments and glorious praises for the life, music, and legacy of Max Roach....


* Max Roach 1924-2007: Thousands Pay Tribute to the Legendary Jazz Drummer,
Educator, Activist *

Over 2,000 people gathered at Riverside Church in New York on Friday for the
funeral of the legendary drummer, educator and activist Max Roach, who died
on August 16 at the age of 83. He was credited with helping to revolutionize
the sound of modern jazz and for playing a prominent role in the struggle
for black liberation at home and in Africa. We speak with two men who have
known Roach for decades: Amiri Baraka and Phil Schaap.


* "When Great Trees Fall, Rocks on Distant Hills Shudder" - Poet Maya
Angelou Remembers Jazz Pioneer Max Roach *

"[Max Roach] had the courage to love us," poet Maya Angelou said at Max
Roach's funeral at Riverside Church. "I'm glad to say we had him. We are
bigger and better and stronger, because Max Roach was my brother."


* "Max is the Highest, the Outtest, the Largest, the Greatest, the Fastest
the Hippest" - Poet Amiri Baraka Eulogizes Jazz Legend Max Roach *

Amiri Baraka - Max Roach's biographer and acclaimed poet and playwright -
delivered the eulogy at Roach's funeral at Riverside Church. Baraka read the
poem, "Digging Max," that he wrote for Roach's 75th birthday.


* "I Became a Comedian Because of Max Roach" - Bill Cosby Remembers His
Favorite Jazz Drummer *

Comedian Bill Cosby paid tribute to Max Roach at his funeral on Friday. "Why
I became a comedian is because of Max Roach," Cosby said. "I wanted to be a


* "I Have Seen Him at Work Moving in the Bloodstream of his People" - Poet
Sonia Sanchez Remembers Max Roach *

Poet and activist Sonia Sanchez, a leading figure in the Black Arts
movement, paid tribute to Max Roach at his funeral in Riverside Church on


I'm sorry so much catastrophe and tragedy has happened to you. I would've never imagined nor expected it within the sphere of your existence. But I wish to let you know that your thoughts and consciousness will never go unheeded, unheard, nor unread. I say this as someone who knew you in the past, yet never really knew you, yet still wishes to know you again...

Be well and fiery of spirit,

Akua said...

Thanks for the links! I follow DN closely.