Classic Drummer Hall of Fame
Honoring Music's Most Influential Drummers
As voted by the readers of Classic Drummer Magazine
Max Roach 1924-2007
Drummer, percussionist and composer Max Roach was a bebop pioneer who changed the face of jazz drumming forever. With an innovative style that moved the time-keeping pulse of the music from the bass drum to the ride cymbal, he made it possible to accent, intone and add emphasis using the other drums and cymbals of the kit. Revolutionary at the time, this style was to become standard operating procedure for drummers from the 1950s forward.
With a discography of over 65 recordings, his prolific artistic output was formidable and those with whom he played comprise a who’s who of jazz royalty. Working with the likes of Coleman Hawkins, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Billy Eckstine, Stan Getz, Sonny Rollins, Clifford Brown, Eric Dolphy and Booker Little, he
experimented with a wide variety of styles and line ups.
According to the Oxford Companion to Jazz, a contemporary of Max Roach and drummer Stan Levey, summed up his importance this way: “I came to realize that, because of him, drumming no longer was just time, it was music.”