Another jazz innovator dies and another living link to the bebop era of jazz and the days when music and musicians were an active part of the civil rights movement fades.
Roach of course was THE bebop drummer pushing Bird and Diz and a very young Miles Davis with his speed and amazing polyrhythmic abilities. And of course, the records he made with the late Clifford Brown are quintessential hard bop and are still the basis for what conservatives such as Wynton Marsalis consider real jazz.
On a personal note, I attended to school in Atlanta with his lovely twin daughters Dara and Ayo.
I met him at once I remember that he seemed to be looking right through me when we shook hands and he had very hairy ears.
Also got to see him do his hi-hat solo thing at the Piedmont Jazz Festival. It's flashy yet fascinating show stopper where brings a hi-hat to the front of the stage and plays every inch of the damn from top to bottom pulling an amazing array of tones, polyrhythms and sounds out of it at lighting speed and with flair (between the legs behind the back the whole shebang).
He made it look soooo easy.