Drummer Max Roach is featured in the film “Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes,” co-presented by the Parrish Art Museum and Hamptons Doc Fest at the Parrish this Friday for Black History Month. COURTESY HAMPTONS DOC FEST
On the centennial of the birth of legendary drummer Max Roach, and in celebration of Black History Month, Hamptons Doc Fest and the Parrish Art Museum, will co-present the documentary film “Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes” (2023, 80 min.), directed by Sam Pollard and Ben Shapiro, at the Parrish Art Museum on Friday, February 16, at 6 p.m. After the screening, Hamptons Doc Fest founder and executive director Jacqui Lofaro will do a live Zoom Q&A with co-director Shapiro.
The film chronicles the complicated seven-decade career of a man who reinvented himself over the years as not only a jazz drummer and hip-hop pioneer but also a composer, bandleader and social activist during the Civil Rights era, experiencing periods of both joy and tragedy.
Much of the archival footage was gleaned from the Max Roach Archive he established at the Library of Congress and contributed to from the 1940s to his death in 2007.
Born in North Carolina in 1924, Roach grew up in Brooklyn, and after graduation from high school played in bands led by Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis. From 1950 to 1953, he studied classical percussion at the Manhattan School of Music, later receiving an honorary doctorate there.
Over the next decades, he formed and played in numerous bands including M’Boom, a percussion orchestra, and was recruited to the faculty of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he taught for over 20 years; played both solo concerts and duet recordings; wrote music for plays and gospel choirs; and performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Over his lifetime, Roach received a MacArthur Genius Grant in 1988 and eight honorary doctorate degrees.
The film includes interviews and tributes from many of his contemporaries in the music and art world. It won the 2024 Best Music Documentary award from the International Documentary Association (IDA).
Tickets for the screening are $20 ($18 seniors, $13 members, $10 students) at parrishart.org. The Parrish Art Museum is at 279 Montauk Highway in Water Mill.
One fine body…