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Max Roach: Percussion Bitter Sweet

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1Max Roach: Percussion Bitter Sweet Empty Max Roach: Percussion Bitter Sweet on Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:58 pm

Recently took this cd out from the library and, MAN, it is unreal good:
http://www.amazon.com/Percussion-Bitter-Sweet-Max-Roach/dp/B000003N6L

Released the year and month of my birth, August 1961, it could have been recorded yesterday. What's more, Max Roach composed every tune except one which he co-wrote. This is a masterpiece that can't be anything but underrated . . .

The first tune, Garvey's Ghost, is as hyper-modern as it gets . . . in 6/8 but with so much going on between the three percussionists that the playing field seems infinite. Spread out like a universal latin pancake . . .

Pete, you especially will love hearing how Max approaches the kit in latin context. He's got a lot to say and he says it! And then there's vocalist Abbey Lincoln on a couple tracks and you're in outer space . . .

woof

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2Max Roach: Percussion Bitter Sweet Empty Re: Max Roach: Percussion Bitter Sweet on Mon Jan 28, 2008 2:43 pm

In the band is trumpeter, Booker Little, who sadly passed just a few months after the release date at age 23. See here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Booker_Little

When I heard his sound I did a triple-take and immediately checked the liner notes to learn who was playing . . . here's some video of Max and Booker:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCTUq6o_5Ms

Interesting combination of jazz tuba and bowing bass . . . that's Ray Draper on tuba who led his own quintet at the age of 17 in 1957 featuring John Coltrane. Wow, here 'tis:
http://www.amazon.com/Draper-Quintet-Featuring-John-Coltrane/dp/B000007S98

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3Max Roach: Percussion Bitter Sweet Empty Re: Max Roach: Percussion Bitter Sweet on Sun Feb 03, 2008 7:47 pm

Bill Cosby & his drumming gig with Sonny Stitt . . .

Priceless:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPgcQydWWeE

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4Max Roach: Percussion Bitter Sweet Empty Cherokee ! on Sun Feb 03, 2008 11:10 pm

that was great to watch. Thanks for that Keith ! I know the feeling ! Peace, TED

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5Max Roach: Percussion Bitter Sweet Empty Re: Max Roach: Percussion Bitter Sweet on Mon Feb 04, 2008 5:25 am

Very nice, Woof. Thanks for posting this.

Don.

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6Max Roach: Percussion Bitter Sweet Empty Mendacity! on Mon Feb 04, 2008 9:52 am

Hate to sound like a cynic (which I'm not), but Abbey Lincoln's lyrics on "Mendacity" seem as appropriate today as it did back in the 60s. Here we are in the U.S. leading up to another presidential election and the campaigning is pretty exciting. Ain't putting my eggs all in one basket though, which is why I'm Susspect.

I liked Garvey's Ghost... which sounds a lot like Tender Warrior.

Also liked Chip Stern's colorful description of Max Roach's performance on this release; particularly

Roach is never content just to mark time. Instead, his drums essay complex metric and polyrhythmic devices, while suggesting keyboard-like counterpoint and melodic motifs...

Thanks for posting Woofus... this is nice stuff. Max is missed for sure... great man as well as the legendary musician.

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7Max Roach: Percussion Bitter Sweet Empty Re: Max Roach: Percussion Bitter Sweet on Mon Feb 04, 2008 12:14 pm

You nail it, Suss. Mendacity is a very important "political" protest song. This is the one song on the cd where Max shares credit, I'm guessing with the lyricist. Here are the lyrics:
Mendacity, mendacity, it makes the world go round.
A politician makes a speech and never hears the sound.
The campaign trail winds on and on in towns from coast to coast.
The winner ain't the one who's straight, but he who lies the most.

Now voting rights in this fair land we know are not denied.
But if I tried in certain states, from treetops I'd be tied.
Mendacity, mendacity, it seems is everywhere.
But try and tell the truth, and most folks scream "Not Fair!"

This is a 9 minute tune where Max provides a lengthy solo that speaks volumes.

That same year, 1961, The Real Ambassadors, led by Dave Brubeck (still going strong at 84 and touring Florida now) and Louis Armstrong made some very strong statements in the form of art. I believe much of the lyrical credit goes to Dave's wife, Iola. I'll be man enough to admit crying upon hearing the song "The Real Ambassador" during the Armstrong section of the epic tune. It came as a surprise that he was even on the song when I heard it as most of it is a tour de force performed by Lambert, Hendricks & Ross along with the Brubeck quartet. I felt more than vindicated learning that Louis himself cried during the recording!

Here's a nice radio piece about The Real Ambassadors:
http://www.theworld.org/?q=node/2189

This thread now seems to be a continuation of the one started by Niki last year about jazz and politics . . .

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8Max Roach: Percussion Bitter Sweet Empty Re: Max Roach: Percussion Bitter Sweet on Mon Feb 04, 2008 12:53 pm

Right on Woofus! [& Niki!]

Yeah, this thread does seem reminiscent of what Niki posted last year. Music (and the arts in general) is often inextricably linked to the politics inspiring artful expressions.

Among politicians though, I'm still SussPect, even if an African American is in the running. I'd rather focus on the issues at hand than the ethnicity of those in the running.

Those lines in "Mendacity" that Abbey Lincoln sings about politicians not hearing their own voice are Timeless & PRICELESS! Then it was about civil rights in the USA ... nowadays it's just about civility anywhere.

Mendacity, mendacity, it makes the world go round.
A politician makes a speech and never hears the sound.
The campaign trail winds on and on in towns from coast to coast.
The winner ain't the one who's straight, but he who lies the most.

Now voting rights in this fair land we know are not denied.
But if I tried in certain states, from treetops I'd be tied.
Mendacity, mendacity, it seems is everywhere.
But try and tell the truth, and most folks scream "Not Fair!"

Priceless & Timeless! (oh, I said that already!) lol!

Peace & Love Bro! afro

P.S. Kind of reminds me of some basic principles written milennia ago. There's no escaping it, it seems: no matter how hard some out here are doing. MENDACITY!

Isaiah 59:13-15
In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.
And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.
Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.

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9Max Roach: Percussion Bitter Sweet Empty Re: Max Roach: Percussion Bitter Sweet on Mon Feb 04, 2008 4:55 pm

Incidentally, the conga player on Percussion Bitter Sweet is Carlos "Patato" Valdez and I learned the other day he used jam around here. Our pianist has played with him and describes intense energy, even jumping up on top of his congas . . . another friend said he saw Patato play six rhythms at once . . .

The cowbell player, Carlos "Totico" Eugenio, transcends all on Garvey's Ghost . . . the cowbell on that tune is as heavy as it gets . . . together, I dub them Los Carlosos Colossus . . .

Patato just passed at age 81 in December:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/06/arts/music/06valdes.html?n=Top/Reference/Times%20Topics/Subjects/J/Jazz
http://www.lpmusic.com/The_LP_Family/Inside_LP/patato_passing.html

I saw him play last year with The Conga Kings along with Giovanni Hidalgo and Candido Camero and reviewed it on the old site. Quite amazing to see two octogenarian legends on stage, the inventors of the form.

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10Max Roach: Percussion Bitter Sweet Empty PATATO! on Mon Feb 04, 2008 9:34 pm

Patato in 1986:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fs548D4qdTs

And here he is giving a conga lesson (and more)!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kmk0IVi2Xu4

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11Max Roach: Percussion Bitter Sweet Empty Re: Max Roach: Percussion Bitter Sweet on Tue Feb 05, 2008 12:22 am

I need to check out those links too Woofus!

I just love the merging or mindsets when music is involved!

... will get back to ya when it's not so late for me. Had an early morning which is now "yesterday." Neutral

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12Max Roach: Percussion Bitter Sweet Empty Re: Max Roach: Percussion Bitter Sweet on Thu Feb 21, 2008 12:30 pm

Having listened to Max’s “Percussion Bitter Sweet,” I can’t help but share my thoughts. For those who haven’t heard it, especially among drummers, the entire project is marvelous! Thanks Woofus for bringing this title to our attention. Very timely indeed!

==============================


Garvey’s Ghost: The more I listen to this 6/8 flow (and the interplay between Abbey and horn arrangements), it’s like Marcus G. is in the room! Max’s solo is so Right!!! Not overplayed, yet punctuating every nuance! I LOVE IT! It’s too bad that the piano is way too far back in the mix though.

Mama: I’d like to know what about “mama” inspired Max when he wrote this tune. I can remember after the ‘ole Thanksgiving dinners when all the family was around, my jazzin’ uncles would pull out cuts like this to listen to the then new “stereophonics” in the 50s. Ooops… naw I’m not old! LOL! Funny…, it’s music like this that probably inspired my interest in the drums rather than the keyboards. My Mom forced fed the piano to me since I was four. By eleven, I was sick of it. Maybe Max reveals his mother’s inspiration by that drum solo here and the overall title of the release: “Percussion Bitter Sweet! LOL! Very nice indeed!

Tender Warriors: Love the smooth phrases both melodically and percussively. By the time Clifford Jordan comes in with those abrasive tenor sax riffs, I’m ready for the “warrior!” Not a contradiction of terms at all! And Max Roach here is no less ferocious on the kit! Tender Warriors? Who knows…?

Praise For A Martyr: Some might misconstrue what a “martyr” really is these days, given current events and extremism. But I can still see why those who are martyrs deserve the praise among those who had skin. For me, this tune brings out the what is deserved in honoring such martyr, rather than recoiling from them. Max certainly had a grasp on the melodic themes as well! Here too (as with “Mendacity”), I can see why you were reminded of what Niki brought up last year when he spoke about “art and politics.”

Mendacity: As I said before in this thread, here’s the link between “art and politics.” Splendid writing by C. Bayen and Max Roach!... again punctuating percussion: “bitter sweet.” When Max goes into his very lyrical drum solo at the end of the song, he speaks in very short phrases that say alot when moving around the kit. No 'words' wasted there: and what you hear is what you get! Great music without mendacity. I'm praying those that those on the campaign trail today in the USA will do the same, if only half as well politically as Max R. and crew/cabinet has done musically.

Man From South Africa: Max cuts the odd meter (7/4) like a knife through butter. Eric Dolphy’s sax solo is the jam on that buttered bisquit too! (at least it sounded like Eric on the alto rather than Clifford on tenor). And when they come back into the melodic head, that is polyrhythm perfection! BTW, that trombone solo by Julian Priester is equally on cue. And Max (?): I love the way his H.H. and ride keeps a constant color in spite of what he's doing elsewhere around the kit.

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13Max Roach: Percussion Bitter Sweet Empty Re: Max Roach: Percussion Bitter Sweet on Fri Feb 22, 2008 2:20 pm

Nice review, Suss. Makes me wanna go back and listen to Man From South Africa to understand 7/4. It should be noted Max Roach is Producer as well as drummer/composer . . . a very important recording from 1961, to be sure. It would interesting to read/listen to an historical study of odd time signatures in jazz or music in general. Here's an internet radio station devoted to odd time signatures:
http://www.oddtimeobsessed.com/#

Dave Brubeck may have paved the way in jazz with Time Out in 1959. At age 87, he just played in Georgia last week:
http://www.accessatlanta.com/music/content/music/stories/2008/02/12/brubeck_0213.html

Here's the 1961 footage of Brubeck mentioned in the article:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDOgYw5-pNs

Joe Morello still on the planet, nearing 79 . . . wonder what he's up to . . .

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14Max Roach: Percussion Bitter Sweet Empty Re: Max Roach: Percussion Bitter Sweet on Sat Feb 23, 2008 2:28 pm

I don't disagree that Brubeck's "Take Five" paved the way... historically that asphalt should be determined by the parameters of acceptance, rather than leaving out those who "were accepted" well before Brubeck making it "acceptable."

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