Max Roach: The bigger Max
From the early sixties on (check his Impulse! album “It’s Time”) drummer Max Roach started to work with larger formations than his quintet (or quartet) from time to time. He added choirs for several recordings and in the 1980s he sometimes added a string quartet (mostly the Uptown String Quartet in which his daughter Maxine played) to his quartet with Cecil Bridgewater, Odeon Pope and Tyrone Brown.
As far as the larger Max Roach groups are concerned, there seems to be not much footage around on the internet. So I am happy to offer you three actually quite long clips here you may not have seen before.
The first one is Max Roach featured with the Northern Colorado University Big Band at the Jazz Festival Montreux one June 15, 1971. They are playing a very churchy suite here (see comments for possible titles).Pianist/organist is Stanley Cowell, the trumpet player / conductor is Charles Tolliver (thanks, Trane!). I can not identify any of the other band members (are you out there?).
The other two clips are from nineteen years later. First are more than 56 minutes of the Max Roach Double Quartet at the Jazzgipfel in Stuttgart, 1990 – I do not know the exact date. You’ll see and hear Max Roach (dr), Odean Pope (ts), Cecil Bridgewater (tp), Tyrone Brown (b), John Williams (violin), Cecelia Hobbs (violin), Maxine Roach (viola), Eileen Folson (cello). Sorry for the abrupt ending, the cassette ended here, and I did a short fade out.
In the same year Max Roach also took a large choir – The John Motley Singers – along with his quartet and pianist George Cables to Europe playing two hour concerts at the Jazz Festivals in Umbria and Verona in Italy and Lugano (Switzerland). You may have heard part of the material on the Enja 2CD set “To The Max!”. The Lugano concert on June 29 was broadcast in full on Swiss TV (do not worry, the voice-over soon stops):