NJPAC to present centennial tribute to Max Roach in January

max roach newark

MAX ROACH, 1924-2007

The late drummer and composer Max Roach, who was born in January 1924, will be honored with a centennial-celebration concert at NJPAC in Newark, Jan. 26, that will feature his 1960 “Freedom Now Suite,” co-written with lyricist Oscar Brown.

For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.

The show’s musical director will be drummer Nasheet Waits of Roach’s percussion group M’Boom. Performers will include singer Cassandra Wilson, poets Sonia Sanchez and Saul Williams, saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, pianist Nduduzo Makhathini and bassist Eric Revis.

Roach died in 2007, at the age of 83.

Roach’s suite, released on the album We Insist!: Max Roach’s Freedom Suite, was inspired by the Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil Rights Movement, and was written in anticipation of the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, which was in 1963. Singer Abbey Lincoln, saxophonist Coleman Hawkins and percussion Babatunde Olatunji were among the contributors to the original album.

Roach said in a 1960 interview, “We American jazz musicians of African descent have proved beyond all doubt that we’re master musicians of our instruments. Now what we have to do is employ our skill to tell the dramatic story of our people and what we’ve been through.”

In conjunction with the concert, a new documentary, “Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes,” will screen at the Newark Museum of Art, Jan 18 at 7 p.m., with a panel discussion with the film’s director-producers Sam Pollard and Ben Shapiro, and Roach’s son Raoul, following. There will be no admission charge. Visit njpac.org/event/max-roach-the-drum-also-waltzes.


Since launching in September 2014, NJArts.net, a 501(c)(3) organization, has become one of the most important media outlets for the Garden State arts scene. And it has always offered its content without a subscription fee, or a paywall. Its continued existence depends on support from members of that scene, and the state’s arts lovers. Please consider making a contribution of any amount to NJArts.net via PayPal, or by sending a check made out to NJArts.net to 11 Skytop Terrace, Montclair, NJ 07043.


Custom Amount

Personal Info

Donation Total: $20.00

Explore more articles:

Leave a Comment

Sign up for our Newsletter