A whole lot of wisdom from Max Roach


Thanx for this one 8mile.
'I try not to do things because I can do
them. I try to allow the moment to create
itself, to respect silence, to say something
and let the audience absorb it.'
Realy inspiring words.


Platinum Member
Top man. I could not agree more with his take on metronome playing.

"Someone asked me about the use of the metronome and I answered that you should use it only if you cannot keep time and are trying to develop a sense of holding time at a certain level. But to play metronomic time is another inhuman aspect. The time should be at the same place, but to make it elastic sounding, it may have to get a little faster or slower. A metronome locks you into "bap bap bap bap."

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
Max Roach said:
Excluding a wind instrument, there's always the danger of sounding inhuman. You're not obliged to take a breath before you do something. Wind instrumentalists are obliged to be human; they have periods, question marks, exclamation marks, phrases. But there's always the danger, with people who play piano, percussion, or string instruments, of not creating phrases that speak out to people. You can just rattle for hours. That characteristic is not only unmusical, but unnatural as well.
Very nice!

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
It's funny but you notice he's talking about all those things that says "artist" - and here we are slaves to the click, slaves to overplaying, just....slaves.

As Bill Bruford said, "when I grow up , I want to be Max Roach".

Anon La Ply

Thanks 8! Love it. He's such a clear thinker. This is pretty well the answer to "blank page syndrome".
MR: When I go into an improvisational section it is not preplanned. I have all the techniques at my disposal. When someone else stops, I'm permitted to deal with my thoughts on a particular musical subject. I come to it free. The first thing I throw down into the instrument will determine the pattern and its development. Within, I'm conscious of what I call conversational structure, saying something to myself and answering.
I noticed his comments on "Boom bam de-boom-boom bam" drumming and how the instrument goes beyond that. Of course "Boom bam de-boom-boom bam" mostly sums up my drumming life. Unlike Max, I am seemingly simple minded enough to just enjoy playing minor variations on what are mostly year one beats.

Yet as a listener I love the sophistication of musical expression of the bop musicians, that they could burn without smashing the instrument and they could pull so many great sounds. Some of those clips on YT from Max's Freedom Now! are on another plane.
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Well-known member
Many great things about it have been shared already but I just love this one..
"You should try each night to introduce something that you didn't do the night before."


Gold Member
There are those who think that art is for the sake of art, but actually it never is. Art is a powerful weapon that society, or the powers that be, use to control or direct the way people think. Culture is used to perpetuate the status quo of a society. Even though I'm involved in music for the sake of entertainment, I always hope to offer some kind of enlightenment.

Thanks for referencing this 8mile


Platinum Member
It may seem strange to guitarists, bass players etc, but Max seems to be saying "Drummers are musicians, and even artists".