Max Roach

American percussionist and composer, one of the most influential jazz drummers. Roach was born in New Land, North Carolina. In 1942 he worked with a group of American jazz musicians in Harlem, New York, including pianist Thelonius Monk and alto saxophonist Charlie Parker. The group was experimenting with a musical style that was to become known as bebop jazz, or bop. Roach was one of the first drummers to realize fully the potential of stylistic innovations such as using the cymbals rather than the bass drum for the primary rhythmic pulse of the music. He became the leading drummer of the bop movement, and he played and recorded with most of the major jazz musicians of the period. In the 1960s Roach recorded a number of albums centering on the black-American cultural arts movement and the struggle for black racial equality. He has also been a frequent solo performer and has composed music for musicals, motion pictures, television, and symphony orchestras.    More