Roach: Our Classrooms Were Speakeasies, Joints, Clubs

roach_maxArts & Entertainment Music Howard Reich
A bold concert series digs deeply into Max Roach’s art

“You have to remember that our classrooms were the speakeasies and joints and clubs, there was no formal instruction,” he told me in 1991, long after he had begun teaching at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in the early 1970s.

“Back then, you learned by imitation, by watching and then analyzing the greats. But you also had to learn how to be different from the people you revered, or else people would say: ‘He sounds too much like Charlie Parker‘ or ‘I heard Bud Powell do that already.'”

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