Max Roach, in an undated photograph, courtesy of nndb.com
JBNBlog tries to pay tribute to some of the musicians & artists who have inspired me with obituary/reflections here . . . recently, this list of fallen heroes turned up in a piece written by John Litweiler which turned up on the goodbaitbooks.com site, along with other JL prose & photos. Sometime in the previous decade, many great spirits left us & I just did not know . . . or have forgotten. Of the list that follows, only Deryck Bentley’s name is new to me & most are on records somewhere in the collection. Andrew Hill was at the Guelph jazz fest a few years back, playing amazing solo piano, a friend of mine met (I think) Jimmy Giuffre back in the day, & Max Roach was on stage for the 50th anniversary Massey Hall re-creation of the Parker-Gillespie-Powell-Mingus-Roach concert (Roy Haynes was the drummer in the new millennium version of the band) . . . anyway. These giants are gone. Some LPs in the basement will have to be revisited in their belated honour.
On a joyful related note, it looks as if (Internet research verifiable) Montreal-born jazz pianist Paul Bley will turn 80 on Nov. 10. Has he ever played London? Not to JBNBlog’s knowledge.
Max Roach did, at least once . . . back in 1946. He was here with Coleman Hawkins & Teddy Wilson in a band brought in by Western students to play the old London Arena on March 13, 1946. It was billed as the first modern jazz concert in London. Which it might have been. A pretty good spring for jazz here that year . . . Oscar Peterson played Beal on April 30 a few weeks after the Hawkins band was here. Wow.
Over to John Litweiler:
In the 21st century there’s also the replacement factor to consider. Within the last 16 months we’ve lost at least 50 significant musicians — among them the fine trad trombonist Deryck Bentley, Andrew Hill, Leroy Jenkins, Teo Macero, Frank Morgan, Max Roach, Jimmy Giuffre, Paul Rutherford, and Dakota Staton. Have 50 new musicians of similar value emerged in the same period?
– John Litweiler, c. 2008