Monday, February 5, 2018
Max + Dizzy: Paris 1989
A bit of a visit down memory lane for me today....here's some amazing footage of Max Roach and Dizzy Gillespie from their 1989 duo concert in Paris, France.
I first bought this album 25 years ago (!) while on a high school band trip to Moscow, Idaho, attending the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. Up until that moment I had only started to check out Max, mostly his work with Charlie Parker, Clifford Brown and Sonny Rollins. So, for a number of reasons, this album really knocked me out...
First of all, I was amazed that so much music could be made from just two musicians on stage together. Entertaining the possibility of improvised duets with other musicians now offered me a world of possibility and the sky was now the limit. I had no idea that you could do that as a drummer! Soon after I would discover the Don Cherry/Ed Blackwell ECM record "El Corazon" (thanks to the Regina Public Library) and the rest, as they say, is history...
But in retrospect what really impressed me (and still does) is how personal Roach delivers his vocabulary and rhythmic ideas on the drums. He really OWNS every phrase that he plays. Of course, this only comes from a lifetime of playing and developing ones ideas time after time again. Not only did Roach invent a new language of Jazz drumming that set the bar very high and inspired countless others, but he perfected it in a highly personal way over the course of his entire career. By the time of this recording I don't think Roach was really searching for new things to play on the drums (I could be wrong...) but instead he focused on refining and delivering his time-tested ideas in very clever ways, arranged in very clear and musical statements.
Fortunately for us/me, the video footage of the concert exists:
And here's the full audio/CD version of the concert:
*Be sure to check out the audio up until the very end as there is an extensive interview with both Roach and Gillespie.