Max Roach – The Onus is Always on the Rhythm Section

SKF NOTE: Interviewing Max Roach on July 15, 1981 in his Connecticut home was, and is, one of my life’s highlights. Hearing Gene Krupa ignited my lifelong love of drumming. Hearing Max Roach for the first time gave my drumming direction. Max’s melodic drumming at first gave me a style to emulate, and later to use in developing my own voice.

After transcribing my Roach interview tapes I mailed the transcript to Max — a story in itself I’ll save for another time — Max called my at Modern Drummer with changes he wanted to make in the transcript.

In this excerpt from our phone conversation, Max and I are talking about part of the interview where he describes his desire early in his career to go beyond his role as a pioneer Bebop drummer. Listeners will hear Max Roach in this excerpt talk about his conviction that, far from being less than their melodic instrument counterparts, it is the rhythm section that defines all musical styles.

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