of music 'GarveyasGhost' which, itd,%baaoicuudgrandiasr!in come@on and &ding, gipine rieetoapictureaddlyatvariance with what is knatm of his [Gar veyls] '*p".a people ell o v a the
On the album in question (the 1961 Psrarssior, Bictasrocct), Roa& not only asserted what reggae conmhanly asserts about Gamy today bat also, said a piece on the LP called 'Mama', 'does not look a women in the romantic sense, but rather as strong, 8elfhEkient human beings who take an active part in worW p r o w . The white cri.* got their way and the album got him banned from the studios for h e years. His view of the period is one of hope, though.
'The Siwieswas the time of the ans-WaT movement, the black movement'. . . The US is not a homogenous society but that was a time of people coming together to speak with one mind. All these movements workad in the same directionand wemadegains. The gov-t learned how to defusethisandnowthesegainsare under attack.
t you can have a u b W . In our music love loet bnwm white critics who him as much for
'Most people believe the Sixt h was an h l a t ed period, but it w n ' t . Thereisonly oneinstance ofa city beingbombedin the United Statcs and it was by the goveminant, to put down a race riot in Oklahoma in 1918. We have the oppression of black people, you in Britain have Ireland; it's thesamething-imperialism.
'But the USA will always produce Malwlm Xs, W E B Du Bois't, Marcus Garveysand Martin Luther Kings. Just as American societyisvery stubbornabout preserving oppression, resistance keeps being generated. T h e were many elements responsible for the events of the Sixties court decisions forcing integration in public places, on buses, the opening of universities to black people, the resurgence of the popularity of socialist ideas, the student movement demandingasayintherunningoftheir lives.'
long bccs one of the
This was also the period when black nationalism's rise in the black communitiesacross the us went hand-in-hand with the rise of a new revolution in black art music. I asked Roach where he saw themusic going now?
' I h e a r n c i a 8 0~nds l i k eAnthony Brextan. Musicians like him are thumbing their noses at bccaming millionaires. What theyaredoingislikewhatwedid back in the Forties, creating music instead of just trying to create money.'
'I Wt teomt dieoa m ~ c , I r r a c n t d l e ~ t l I 8 t ~ m P s i c d m d t get &rims. r'mnor ~ dm~ t p l $ y d@co , ] C "m~ - ingthatwcwa&@&tgablaM.sdrlkt.OYc,w€?mrffl~minmult.ButnwmerhinbPanymore.Discoand2%B@SaiRssBacRare~.Ijuetthinkrealityshouldgetah~,too.Becausejazzmakespeoplethinkaboutchange,itiskeptofftheair.'
As hs had tdd mt earlier, 'this m u s i c t t m ~ t k m u s i c a l s o c h a l h g & ~ . m w n scious linking of socialand ddchallenge*animpoaant part in the work he has donewith avant-garde players, ip recent Y-.
'I have -ted to play with Cecil Taylor for a long time but I first setmyself a number of projects in the same vein. F w o LPs have emerged hthis collaboration, the most recent beingthe double live Hat Hut LP mentioned above.] Then I wanted to do a duo with Dollar Brand. I figuredthataswebothcamefrom the same kind of oppresivc and recist society, we wuld come together and play without even rehearsing, and it worked thisway.
We are in good campany, though; Louis Armsmmg was a revolutionary. Befare him you h a d t o w m e o u t o f a ~ to be called a great mtleician. But h u a e d i mp r o v i d o n a n d h c r a volutionkd music with his playing. The common people proclaimedhimamusicien,notacanEaxvxltory.'
On the theme of other musiciaus, we also discussed a more sombre note. I asked him if he thought several musidans who hadalsorefusedmwmmemake..theirmusicwerehunpedtoanearlydeath,namely.ChatlieParker,EricDolphySandBillieHoliday.
'Parker and Dalphy maybe gave too much of themdves t~ thc music. When I agonized over the Uurimely death of t2iekd. Brown [in 19561, a friend of mira said, "Max,W o r d paid his dues, maybe you s t i l l have yours to pay." Maybe so.'
Most would say Roach's duee are well and truly in credit.
On Billie Holiday, Roach re turned to his theme of how the music grows.
'In a comment he later re tracted, critic Leonard Feather attacked Billie Holiday's last album Lady in Satin . . .'
'Then I recorded a duo with Anthony Braxcon whom I have already spoken about. When I
After she was dead? - 'Yes, that is so. He attacked it because she didn't sound like she did when she was 21 and playins
'No-one thinks any more. Disco 'Becausejazz makes people rhina and The Empire ShiRss Buck are about change, it is kept &the air escapism. . .' . . .a was ready to record with Cecil, a student group at Columbia$ organized the concert [in 19801and we organized the recording session later. [This, unfortunately, has yet to h d a ampany willing to release it.]
with Count Basie. But jazz tallmm you to sound 50 whenyou am 5Q. When you*are 19, you &OW sound 19: Jazz allow8 you to bell the truth - be who you are. I loved that reeod, it told a lot about her life, a h t her h,
These people, Cecil and I, have a special kinship; we are alike in many ways. We make a political statement with our music. We share a desire to make music. Some muskiam, very talented musicians, have tald me how they just want to "makc a platinuma'. But we can't do this; we don't want to make bland music. Cecil and I have chosen a different c ome in our lives; we have chosen to create music.
'And, as the music is i m p vised, YOU know how Cecilor Anthony Bralrton and I rehesIse? We sit and talk, like you d I have been doing. We talk about society and politics. We are swimming4&-=, we h, haweva: this is what we hew electedtodo.Buttoplaewith Cedlistrulyrewerding,b&art i a i d y o l d s o c i o - ~ .
this quote in an earlier artftle an Roaci~,an irate zeader wrote IXI the paper calling Roach a 'loo& spouting 'in-t rubbish'. Val Wilma,a jm writer with a long hieborg of telling the mudk'side af things,wrotebwk' 'For the rc~ord,althoug& tkb album wae cut when the singes was a shdtmof her former self& islqardedbpmusicicmrd& teners alike as one of her cIa& recordings. As a reflection of t8re way America destroys its most dented individuals, it is deep@W y - moving, yet it is fbre
's ability to convey the history of the artist whieh, ssRoach points out, sets it apart.'