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Legendary Drummer Max Roach Dies at 83

Max Roach, one of the most celebrated and influential drummers in the history of jazz, died early on Aug. 16 in New York City. The cause of death was not disclosed but Roach, who was 83, was reported to have died in his sleep following a long illness.

Roach, along with drummer Kenny Clarke, is often credited with developing the signature rhythmic pulse of bebop during the late 1940s and early ’50s. His associations with innovators such as Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie gave Roach an opening to hone a polyrhythmic ride cymbal- and snare-centered style that allowed for more rhythmic freedom than was previously available to jazz drummers. Roach revolutionized the drum solo in jazz as well, devoting new emphasis to the cymbals and to the brushes, and he furthered the cause of the drum kit as an instrument that not only kept pace but set it.

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