Tuesday, August 28, 2007

God bless Max Roach

The legendary Jazz drummer Max Roach died on August 16, 2007. His funeral was held in New York last Friday. Though I had long admired Roach for his quintessential role as an innovator in jazz, I was surprised to learn of his activism. He once descended on the UN, along with his then wife, Abbey Lincoln, and the poet Maya Angelou, to voice dissent over imperialism and the treatment of blacks in the U.S.--Harlem at the UN--pretty amazing stuff. During a Miles Davis concert at Carnegie Hall in 1961, Roach stopped playing and walked to the edge of the stage carrying a sign that read, “AFRICA FOR THE AFRICANS, FREEDOM NOW.” This exemplifies the breadth of Roach's activism. He wasn't only fighting against racism in America, he beat past all that to examine the true causes of inequality--digging deep to expose the legacies of colonialism and the dangers of fascism.

What saddening beauty it is to watch these wise men, born into structures of disempowerment and bondage, rise up and flourish, become giants, then slip silently, not passively, back into the milieu that birthed them; the world so unaware.

Max Roach made beautiful noise. Looking at our world should make us realize that we need to listen more. At Roach's funeral Maya Angelou eloquently stated that when a giant tree falls, we should gather around to admire the sacred ground from which it sprang.

Also, today Alberto Gonzalez finally resigned.

Thanks, Max. God Bless.


No comments: