Max was to jazz drumming what Charlie Parker was to jazz saxaphone blowing. He changed it forever.
He was also a very beautiful man. I only encountered him a few times back in the day, but always dug him, up close or from afar. Thank God he left us with so many great recordings, and made it to eighty-three. One of the last of the original beboppers.
I quoted him in one of my early posts on this blog, and it's worth repeating:
"...if you're a humanitarian, which most artists are, instead of getting in a fight or breaking something up, you take it out on yourself. In fact, I would say that most creative people who are self-destructive are trying to protect other people from their outrage. If you live long enough, though, you learn you have to be a humanitarian with yourself as well as with everybody else."
—Max Roach in The Village Voice, Dec. 1979