Max Roach and “I Have A Dream”

The drummer Max Roach is best known as one of the originators of bebop, the energetic style of jazz to emerge during the mid-1940s. But there were many other aspects to his musical personality, and he was one of the few drummers who could successfully play entire solo drum concerts. Yes, just drums, for a whole concert! I heard him play two of these solo concerts and I can attest that the audience was riveted the entire time.

Roach also put his musical talents to use in other ways, in particular to promote social rights. One of my favorite  recordings of his is the drum “duet” he did with Martin Luther King, Jr. Roach recorded a drum track under King’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech that is wonderful. Although the speech can obviously stand on its own, Roach’s rhythmic underpinning brings a different kind of flow to it and supports King’s emotional intensity in a powerful way.

Sit back, close your eyes, and enjoy this “collaboration” of Max Roach with the recorded voice of Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I Have A Dream”

I was fortunate enough to study jazz with Max Roach during my college years. He encouraged me to keep developing my musical abilities and I’m trying to do the same with my own students at You can try a free piano improv lesson HERE.

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