Max Roach, Master of Modern Jazz, Dies at 83





Max Roach, a founder of modern jazz who rewrote the rules of drumming in the 1940s and spent the rest of his career breaking musical barriers and defying listeners’ expectations, died early yesterday in Manhattan. He was 83.

His death, at an undisclosed hospital, was announced by a spokesman for Blue Note Records, Mr. Roach’s last label. No cause was given. Mr. Roach, who had lived on the Upper West Side for many years, had been known to be in poor health for some time.

Mr. Roach’s death closes a chapter in American musical history. He was the last surviving member of a small circle of adventurous musicians — among them Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk and a handful of others — whose innovations brought about wholesale changes in jazz during World War II and immediately afterward.

Their music, which came to be known as bebop, had its roots in the jazz tradition, but it was different enough to scandalize many listeners and even many of their fellow musicians.


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