Max Roach Quartet | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Max Roach Quartet



Max Roach plays the drums with such persuasive authority, and leads a band of such crisply committed modernists, that you could easily ignore his absolutely vital place in the development of jazz. On the other hand, a "You Are There" litany of his career's highlights--including his spot behind Charlie Parker on the first important bebop records; his work on Miles Davis's "Birth of the Cool" sessions; his coleadership of the band that brought Clifford Brown and Sonny Rollins to prominence; his ground-breaking essays into "political" music that celebrated black pride and attacked racial injustice--prohibits so shortsighted a view. Before bebop, jazz drummers carried a somewhat primitive image of club-wielding pulse keepers; Roach, with his street-smart mien, compositional solos, and polyrhythmic juggling, helped establish a new prototype altogether. (Roach, Kenny Clarke, and Art Blakey constitute a holy trinity of modern jazz drumming.) His solos still sing with that wizardly blend of melody and propulsion, and his five-course sets satisfy with a similar mixture of honey and pepper. Roach is nearly 70. Has he lost a stroke here and there? Of course. Does it matter? Of course not; he had more than enough to spare. His long-running quartet stars trumpeter Cecil Bridgewater and saxist Odean Pope in the roles of the Spectacular Soloists. Friday through Sunday, Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase, Blackstone Hotel, 636 S. Michigan; 427-4846.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →