Download of the Week: Max Roach

Protest music. I suppose we can say that avant-garde art is, by definition, a form of protest and I would certainly say that avant-garde jazz of the 1960s was a form of protest. Unlike protest songs in the folk tradition, avant-garde jazz was angrier and freer in musical form. Protest music.

Max Roach's We Insist! Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite is among my favorite albums in this genre. It is what I would call—bad-ass.

The Players:

Max Roach – drums
Abbey Lincoln – vocals
Booker Little – trumpet on "Driva Man", "Freedom Day", "All Africa", and "Tears for Johannesburg"
Julian Priester – trombone on "Driva Man", "Freedom Day", and "Tears for Johannesburg"
Walter Benton – tenor saxophone on "Driva Man", "Freedom Day", and "Tears for Johannesburg"
Coleman Hawkins – tenor saxophone on "Driva Man"
James Schenk – bass on "Driva Man", "Freedom Day", and "Tears for Johannesburg"
Michael Olatunji – congas, vocals on side two
Raymond Mantilla – percussion on side two
Tomas du Vall – percussion on side two
Track List:
  1. "Driva Man" (Roach, Oscar Brown) – 5:17
  2. "Freedom Day" (Roach, Brown) – 6:08
  3. "Triptych: Prayer/Protest/Peace" (Roach) – 8:09
  4. "All Africa" (Roach, Brown) – 8:01
  5. "Tears for Johannesburg" (Roach) – 9:42
Inspired musicians, all, playing inspired music composed by Max Roach and lyricist Oscar Brown recorded and released in 1960. Of course the players are all first-rate, top-notch, A-List players, but Abbey Lincoln stole my heart and mind many years ago, as she stole Roach's, and her vocals (and screaming) on We Insist! are truly shocking and beautiful. And powerful.

If you ever feel in need of protest music with a more forceful nature, try on We Insist!. Available from Qobuz and Tidal.

2_channel_ears's picture

Love Abbie Lincoln. We DO insist!