Saturday, December 29, 2007

Max Roach (1924-2007): Freedom Now

In the last few days of 2007, I note some of those that have passed away and offered transformative ideas (in the spirit of Engage). Max Roach has always been one of my favorite jazz drummers. He was known for pioneering the style of hard bop. This year, I found out he released an album in 1960 entitled "We Insist--Freedom Now Suite". It is a compelling musical story that moves from slavery to protest to freedom to peace and makes comparison between the United States and South Africa's apartheid. Roach was a jazz master, using this art form that orginated out of slave songs to try to push our society toward justice and cosmopolitan awareness.

In this beautiful clip you can witness Roach's virtuosity and listen to Abby Lincoln's soulful cry "Rumors flying/ Must be lying/ can it really be?/ can't conceive it/ don't believe it/ but that's what they say/ slave no longer/ slave no longer/ this is freedom day!"

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