August 19, 2007 We'll be Missing Max Roach
I was saddened to hear of the death of Max Roach on Thursday, August 16th. When I brag on the contribution NC has made to the national and international jazz scene, Max Roach is easily one of the top names on my list. He was from a small town New Land, NC in the Great Dismal Swamp area, up near the Virginia border. He was the best and he played with the best. He was one of the initiators of the beat to go with bebop. To learn more about Max Roach, go to YouTube and search on his name, and you will see a great collection of documentary film clips of him playing.
For my radio show tonight, I pulled on CDs that included Max Roach on drums. I had such a great time. Some new friends stopped by the WCOM radio station to help me select the songs for my show and announce them. I thank Bill, Lyle, and Hart for helping out. We all got together to talk about LP (low power) stations and how WCOM got started and future plans we have to grow. In order to grow, we need people skilled in development. Right now we are getting by on a shoe string and have basic needs for improved equipment. Tonight - of the three CD players we have, two of them were not working. So please help out if you can.
- Nina Simone (b. Tryon, NC); Anthology CD; I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free
- Max Roach (b. New Land, NC); 3/4 Time CD; I'll Take Romance & Blues Waltz & Lover
- Miles Davis & Max Roach; Blue Note CD; Budo
- Dizzy Gillespie (h.s. Laurinberg, NC) & Max Roach; Groovin' High CD; Little John Special
- Charlie Parker & Max Roach; Charlie Parker CD; Song is You & Cardboard
- Sonny Rollins &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp; Max Roach; Saxophone Collosus CD; You Don't Know What Love Is & Blue 7
- Charlie Parker &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp; Max Roach; Original Recordings of Charlie Parker CD; Casey Blues
- Miles Davis & Max Roach; The Best of Miles Davis CD; Godchild
- Charlie Parker & Max Roach; Charlie Parker - Ken Burns Jazz CD; Ko-Ko
- Elvis Presley; Elvis Gospel CD; I Believe in the Man in the Sky - August 16th marked the 30th anniversary of the death of Elvis.
- Billy Taylor (b. Greenville, NC); Music Keeps Us Young CD; I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to be Free
I had a surprise drop in visit late in my show of Avram and Eli Stein Eichner, brought to the WCOM studio by their dad, Eric Stein. Avram surely will end up being a WCOM dj, following in the footsteps of his dad. Avram helped me announce several songs and told about his vacation time in Maine with all his counsins and aunts and uncles and grandmother and granddad. He was lucky to miss the terrible hot temps we've been having in the high 90s and low 100s - oh my.
I end my blog with a story that Larry Thomas shared with me about an incredible encounter he had with Max Roach. "On a cold February night in 2000, I attended a play at St. Marks Playhouse on the Lower Eastside of Manhattan. During intermission, I ran into Max Roach in the theatre. He was moving a little slowly and his sight was somewhat failing him at the time. Yet, his serious look and strong presence let me know that I was among royalty. "Hey, Max, how you doing?" I asked. "Great!" he answered. He didn't know who I was, but he stopped and we had a conversation about jazz and I told him how I loved his music, especially his Freedom Now Suite. "You know," he said, "the main thing I remember about those sessions was that Mr. Coleman Hawkins was there before anybody else. (Max insisted on calling on other jazz musicians by including 'Mister' in their names.) He was always there early, dressed to the nines, ready to play. That made us all feel good because he really thought that recording was important." Near the end of our conversation, I told Max that I was a North Carolina native and would be going back home soon. For the first time, he smiled a big smile and said he was a 'Carolina boy', too! And that he loved Carolina. "I'm from the Dismal Swamp - New Land - Nat Turner country! Tell everybody hello and that I love them!"
We love you, too, Max, and we'll miss you most dearly.