The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Music, records of jazz drummer Max Roach acquired by Library of Congress for preservation

  • Print

WASHINGTON - Music and recordings from Max Roach, one of the creators of modern jazz drumming, will be preserved at the Library of Congress, curators and his family announced Monday.

Over the past year, the library has been preparing and organizing Roach's personal collection from his body of work over several decades. The collection includes more than 100,000 items, including 80,000 manuscripts and papers, as well as photographs, music manuscripts and hundreds of sound and video recordings.

Roach worked with other such jazz greats as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk to develop the jazz style known as bebop. And beyond the confines of music, Roach was engaged with the civil rights movement.

"He's a major figure, not just in jazz but in American music," said Larry Appelbaum, a music specialist and jazz curator at the library. "Max represented much more than just a musician or even a composer. He was at the nexus of music, civil rights and black power because he was among that wave of socially conscious musicians."

Roach studied music on many levels. He wrote about his disdain for the label of "jazz." To him, it represented "the worst of working conditions for an artist." He didn't want to be reduced to a stereotype or cliche, curators said.

One of his most important cultural and political works was his "We Insist! Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite" from 1960.

"It's a bold statement," Appelbaum said of the music. "And it really caught the fervour of the times."

The NAACP signed him to a $1,000 contract to perform at a concert as part of the movement leading up to the March on Washington.

The collection includes Roach's correspondence with author Maya Angelou, Coretta Scott King, and other leading figures.

Roach's family attended a dedication ceremony at the library Monday for the new Max Roach Collection. The materials will be available to researchers in the library's Performing Arts Reading Room on Capitol Hill.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Roach and his family began looking for a home before he died in 2007.

Maxine Roach, his eldest daughter and a fellow musician, said her father would be extremely pleased to see his collection go to the library. Max Roach, a one-time university professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, had said he just wanted his children to keep his materials together after he was gone.

Growing up in the Roach household, Raoul Roach, his second son, said the family was always Afrocentric and aware of its roots.

"As a drummer, he understood where the drum came from," Raoul Roach said. "He understood that as the source for everyone — but especially for his music."

At one point on a hotel stationery notepad, Roach wrote about his education in music.

"I attended the university of the streets in the 'Harlems' of the USA," he wrote. "My professors were Duke Ellington, Sonny Greer, Baby Dodds, Louis Armstrong. ... My classmates were Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Charlie Mingus, Theolonius Monk, Miles Davis."

___

Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/

___

Follow Brett Zongker on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DCArtBeat

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Jim Flaherty remembered at visitation as irreplaceable

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Perfect Day- Paul Buteux walks  his dog Cassie Tuesday on the Sagimay Trail in Assiniboine Forest enjoying a almost perfect  fall day in Winnipeg- Standup photo – September 27, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Winnipeg’s best friend the dragon fly takes a break at English Gardens in Assiniboine Park Wednesday- A dragon fly can eat  food equal to its own weight in 30 minutes-Standup photo- June 13, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you agree with the province’s crackdown on flavoured tobacco products?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google