Max Roach Drum Clinic and Masterclass

max roach

I recorded this drum clinic on February 21, 1991 when Max Roach was at Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN. It was recorded on a cheap cassette tape recorder. Please forgive the imperfections.

Thanks to my friend Mike who cleaned up the file after I digitized it. He saved this recording from being almost unlistenable and I’m very grateful.

I hope some of you enjoy this recording. There are some great stories and bits of wisdom from Max Roach.

Below is a transcript. Please contact me if you can fill in any of the missing names/words or if you find errors.

Max Roach: Art of the Drum Solo

Introduction by Sowah Mensah

[Drum Solo]

Max Roach:

“Thank you very much. That was hard work. As I was saying earlier this morning, but firstly I want to thank professor Mensah for that wonderful introduction.

I also want to thank the folks here at the college for inviting me out and say a special thanks to a young lady that worked with my agency…my agent in New York City this past summer, Heidi. She learned a lot from New York City because I’ve been working since I got here last night. Since 8:30 this morning she’s had me doing all kinds of wonderful things. She’s got a loaded schedule for me here. 

As soon as I catch my breathe I’m going to talk about the subject: The Art of the Drum Solo, but firstly I want to tell you a little bit about this instrument. This is a four legged instrument, meaning that it’s also an American innovation. It’s perhaps the only or one of the very few instruments that came out of the American cultural experience. And like America ______________ parts of the world we have Middle Eastern things are these cymbals here. These instruments that you see hanging around and on the floor are simulated instruments that come out of the African experience. Snare drums and bass drums and you see that’s from the European experience.

The fact that we’ve got to deal with this combination of things here with all four limbs has introduced a new technique to the world of percussion playing that employs, actually, techniques that come from all over the world. For example there’s of course Professor Mensah ___ the African techniques of percussion.

One of the most important things is what I call the hand against hand attitude. Which means that to me that what your left hand does, your right hand does something totally different as opposed to the way in Western world is hand AND hand playing, meaning that you play left right left right right left etcetera etcetera. Hand to hand.

Where as in African percussion it’s like this hand will play two beats and this hand will play three beats. It’s not really hand to hand…it’s hand and hand I would say. Where you have boom boom boom da da da da da da with the right hand. And it’s a different kind of technique in its approach to playing percussion instruments. 

Where as ___ having employed all those things mainly that we do the hand to hand hand and hand and we call that kind of ___we’ve given a different name to, we call it independence. Jim Chapin has a book out about independence where the left foot and right foot and right hand and everything is doing something different.

And so just dealing with some basic techniques of the instrument I’m going to give you an example of something that was shown to me by a saxophone player by the name of Charlie Parker. He came from Kansas City. It’s one of the areas of our country that’s the fountainhead of this American music that we call jazz, among other things of course.

But the drummers there were the first ones to deal with that kind of independence with all four limbs. And to give you some idea I’m going to do something with all four limbs that are completely independent of each other. And each one of these rhythms that I’m going to do with each four limbs are indigenous to rhythms that come out of the United States of America. 

There’s a Charleston rhythm which is [demonstrates] it’s the basis of rap if you will. Then there’s of course the steady quarter note. boom boom boom boom boom boom boom. Then there’s what we call the jazz beat on the cymbal which is ching chick chi-ching chick chi-ching. And then there’s a shuffle rhythm which dominated much of so called rock and roll. Now those are four different rhythms that are all peculiar to the US and the early drummers used to play these rhythms all at one time. As I said, the first time someone demonstrated to me was the saxophonist Charlie Parker. 

Around New York City during the war I was in New York City during the second world war. When most of the major drummers were in the Army I was going to high school in Brooklyn New York and making records with some of the great musicians and working with Duke Ellington at the _____. And so my head got really big.

You know, Sidney Catlett and all the the beautiful drummers were in the Army at the time. So when I would come to rehearsals with him and Dizzy Gillespie and Bud Powell and the the crowd anytime I felt like it. So one afternoon I walked into one of the clubs on 52nd street and they were waiting for me and Charlie Parker was sitting at the drums. He had his saxophone across his lap. And I walked in and he played this strange and peculiar set of rhythms and he looked at me and asked me…and said “can you do this?”  I sat down and couldn’t do it. It was embarrassing and he put me in my place to say the least and reduced me to nothing.

And this is basically what this drum…what this particular instrument is about. [demonstrates] [applause] [makes joke off mic (hard to hear)]

How many drummers are out there? Ooh, a lot of drummers. Anybody want to try the strange little rhythm? Thanks very much for not embarrassing me and doing it the first time.

In any case, the subject today is the art of the drum solo. That’s a little presumptuous of a title because the drum solo takes on different attitudes and different meanings in different parts of the world and the drums perhaps is one of the oldest instruments that we have, among the voice, dancing etcetera…things we do with our bodies.

But my approach to dealing with the drum solo in the sense that comes from me being having been born right here in the USA has to do with music that I’ve learned/studied, etc. And has more to do with poetry, actually than music. Or it had more to do with architecture and form than even poetry. Or it has more to do with even design.  And the thing I really look for in it is to create an organized world of sound on this particular instrument.

If I use terms like music, music implies that there has to be melody and harmony (as well as rhythm). Of course this is an instrument of indeterminate  pitch. So, I say well, _________ I’m going to deal with it as organized sound. And I’ve come to deal with everything I’m dealing with now as with that world, even though my major at U MASS was in composition and theory, not percussion. 

And this is a distant side note. The reason I…here I was working on 52nd Street making the kind of living that most young musicians around the town envied. And so I decided to register in Manhattan and I took my audition with Freddy Albright, who was really ____ on percussion for those of you who might be involved in percussion. He was percussion professor at _____. And you know, when you walk in for your audition as a young ____ you have to demonstrate on various percussion instruments that you show some kind of knowledge of the instruments. There are mallet instruments here, timpani, snare drums…just an array of various percussion instruments.

The first instrument he asked me to touch was the snare. There was music there and I picked up the sticks to play whatever written on the sheet of paper and Mr. Albright grabbed my hands and said I was holding the sticks wrong.

I realized at that moment that if I deal with technique and playing percussion from what he was talking about that time and he was preparing to me to play with the symphony orchestra, etc. that I would never be able to pay/play my way through school because I worked on 52nd Street.

The technique was totally different, meaning that when you study classical technique the sticks…there’s up strokes, down strokes, half strokes, up strokes, all kinds of techniques that you deal with so that you can get certain sounds and effects. And I thought about that and I said, well by the time did an upstroke working on 52nd Street with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and that crowd a whole chorus would go by.

I had learned something about piano and could play a little piano because in those days you had to play more than one instrument. That’s why (I majored in theory in) college. Which was also abrupt.

But anyway, I didn’t study percussion in that area, but the thing it really taught me was that we in this country have access to many many techniques. Very few people master them all.

For example, Louis Armstrong would be ill-fitted to play in a symphony orchestra with the kind of sound that he had. By the same token, if a classical player came into Louis Armstrong’s little band and tried to ____ he would be ill-fitted in that situation. But it hasn’t anything to do with this or that, it has to do with this AND that. We have that technique and this technique. And very few musicians today, at least could straddle all of these things and do them that well. For example, I’ve heard some of the great opera singers try to sing ______. And if you listen to some of them, any of them, it sounds terrible. Whereas if you want to hear Ray Charles sing something from Puccini it would sound strange as hell. But you might like it anyway. 

But those are things…in any case technique is one of the most important first steps in developing yourself as a soloist on any instrument. And as I said, as I’m saying now rather that, all these different areas has its own different approach to dealing with the instruments. If you deal with this instrument, not only must you know how to ___ with the singles and all the other things that you do with just your hands around, but you also have to learn how to coordinate both legs and both feet and both arms.

So a lot of time has to be spent just on the little thing that I played you that Charlie Parker taught me a lesson with. How to separate your mind to deal with playing different things with all four limbs. And this does come out of the African school of drumming. That whole attitude. Although we’re dealing with both legs….the attitude of when you say this hand does this, there’s independence, there’s separation, whatever you call it is the basis of what this instrument is about.  

Now, aside from technique and things of that nature, form is important when you deal with anything at all. Whether you’re dealing with poetry, or whether you’re dealing with composition or whether you’re dealing with any instrument. But form is the bottom line of what you’re going to deal with, what you’re trying to say when you are dealing with a solo.

One of the great jazz musicians, a man by the name of Lester Young, was listening to a speed merchant on the saxophone. Could play everything. Up and down the horn, play all the changes…and syllabus. In any case, when he finished playing, Mr. Young asked him a question. He said, “now you know you played so well up there on the instrument. You played all the right chords all the right changes, your technique is exemplary, but what is your story?” [mouths fast playing] — Or was it, you know, did it make sense? Were there periods? Were there question marks? Did you know the lyrics to the song that you were playing? Things like that. So that is also a censor. What are you trying to say on this instrument when you deal with the instrument on a solo. Or are you just, because you have a lot of technique are you just going to destroy the world or are you going to create a thing of beauty? And you can do that on the drum set. 

Now, after the introduction I got from Mr. Mensah, the only way I could respond was to play a little short solo for you and try to give you some idea of what happened during that solo.

I immediately started a strange thing with the pedal on the right, this tunable tom tom here of which I’ve been playing for the last 20 years, so I said, well this is good. So I just began…I started with that and then went into just trying to create forms and create if you will percussive sentences and statements with it. And keeping as maybe a thing this talking drum if you will…and we do it with our feet. So that was the attitude of it. It was just a short piece and it was with mallets, which you all saw. And it was free form. It wasn’t any particular meter. Some of it was like 6/8. Some was in 9/8. It was just free. I wasn’t really thinking of what meter I was playing. I was creating a sound that employed the foot cymbal as the dominant part of the piece, which would make it totally different from anything else I might do. 

I know that when I do a concert as a soloist I have to think of doing maybe a minimum of an hour, hour fifteen, hour twenty minutes and keep it interesting. So I can’t throw everything out there in one fell swoop.

So of course, some of the methods I do employ….still architecture is paramount in my mind; the shaping of the piece. Tension and release. Use of silence. The use of ending a phrase, making sure there’s a period. And then we get into responding to something I’ve done over here, using different areas of the set for a complete piece. I mean, just hit this – the hi-hat – and just create a piece out of that itself. And then of course the use of various meters, none of them just 4/4 or 8/8 or anything like that, but also use the 7s, 9s, 3s…all kinds of things to create different attitudes and different pieces.

And of course, as I said earlier, the first piece was with the mallets. And I would create a piece that just used brushes. These things here, which you don’t see very much of today, but it has a sound that’s unique unto itself. I don’t know really the origin of this particular instrument…it’s probably something that came out _________. And then of course they have various kinds of sticks that we use. But I think the advantage of the set is that it’s a four-legged instrument. The fact that you can do so much with your feet and that takes a lot of the slack off.

Doing that short solo I did I also opened up the section where just the bass drum was the dominant force. And everything came accompanied that. It’s something that also take a lot of practice, as most drummers know. Just to get your feet as supple, if you will, as your hands. And then coordinating that stuff is really like…it’s hard.

In fact, I was born in 1924 I’ve been playing this instrument since I was 12. How many years is that? That’s over 50 years and I’m still learning about the instrument and enjoying it more every day because now I can almost do anything I can think of with it. It took such a long time of playing constantly. All the time. So it amazes when someone sits down and really does a lot with the instrument. And there’s so many young players.

Of course today, the advantage that most of us have today, especially younger musicians, is that technology has afforded you an opportunity to listen to everything closely. You can study from Baby Dodds to players today. You can just put your ear to them whereas we didn’t have that advantage in the old days.

The advantage we did have was that you had to figure out things for yourself and create a kind of individuality that is a hallmark of improvised music. But today, your stamp of approval is given to the fact that you do something that no one else does. It’s just you and you alone. For example, Miles Davis you can hear what he’s doing almost immediately. Or some of the players that dominated the scene. They dominated because they do something that’s individual to them. So creativity is one of the most important factors about dealing with this music that we call jazz, or any kind of creative music. Whether you’re dealing with rock or whatever. It’s still creative. 

There’s another thing that happens today that seems to be a throwback to yesterday. Most of the musicians today play by ear. In the old days, even though Fletcher Henderson and and Benny Carter and all these folks years ago created the…they were all musicians who wrote and read and did all the other things. Eubie Blake and that group of musicians in the 1900’s and Scott Joplin. But then there became a period where everything was from the ear, which is very very important to learn on how to listen. Not only listen to what’s going on outside, but listen to yourself as you’re dealing with your playing.

Like when I sit down to play, the instrument dictates…I mean what I have just played will dictate where I am going. It’s not playing…say…you’re going to do this you’re going to do that. Let me do something that pleases me, I say yeah, I’m going to do that. And so forth and so on and make a sequence out of it. Some of these phrases and sequences and repetition are familiar even in I think all the areas of art. Dealing with poetry. 

Alright, some of the inspirations that I have for dealing with the solo…and one of my main ones is poetry. I like poetry because poetry like the drum set is…there’s no melody naturally and there isn’t harmonies to deal with. That brings in another whole new world of expertise and hard work when you have to put a melody to it, but then add harmonies to the melody. But this, when I read poetry or hear poetry I hear the kind of form that I try to deal with in a drum solo. It’s one of the areas that I especially like to listen to poets read.

I was also inspired by a new world of poetry called rap. This is most recent. The reason I was inspired by that from when it first came out about 10 years ago. The thing that fascinated me about it was the fact that percussion was the backbone of the whole form. I didn’t consider it music then. I considered it spoken word. It’s still to me just spoken word because the word is what’s dominant. Everything else accompanies the word in the rap concept. It depends on…in any case I’m talking about the form….so that inspired me to say well, now the drum is becoming more of a dominant force…even though they were playing repetitive rhythms and even though they were electronic and they started sampling, etc. But all that was to accompany the spoken word.

But the fact that the percussion was now a dominant force because I had believed that this instrument as I had heard in my travels all over the world that the percussion instrument in the western world was really not as palatable, if you will, an instrument as say violin, piano…melodic instruments.

But whereas when I traveled in Africa the drum was like the piano in a sense. It was the dominant instrument. When I went to the middle east it was the same way. When I went to Japan it was like that. To where with conga drums, etc. It played a much more dominant role in society than our drums here.

Our drum is mainly initially for accompaniment. And I grew up in the early days and played with the big bands. The ___ was that the drummer should be seen and not heard or something like that. You know, you were really just a pantomime on the stage and part of the structure. Everything else was dominant. 

But man, when we went into that era with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie and after the second world war drums took a more dominant role in playing because we played in smaller ensembles and every instrument became important to it sound fuller and more like a trio instead like a band and a rhythm section. And then of course mainly with the advent of contemporary forms of music the drums really became a dominant force. Because now when we listen to contemporary groups, they draw heavily on the rhythms of especially Africa and other parts of the world now dominant the force of say rock bands, rhythm and blues bands, etc. You really hear percussion.

And so with all that it encouraged me when I started this years ago when I wrote the first unaccompanied piece for drums was a piece called Drum Conversations. That was of course years ago, but…and I continued on and developed a complete attitude about dealing with the instrument. You will hear more of what I’m doing when you come to the concert tomorrow night. And I will really explore in depth the many many many variations and sounds of this instrument we have here.

In the meantime I’m going to open the floor to some questions….

Question: (Something about preparing vs improvising)

MR: “Well, you know. You improvise. It depends on definition. You know, you have to prepare yourself. It took a long time and many years of learning how to just deal with all four limbs………, what you see me do and what you will see me do is things I’ve worked on for a long long time that I at random now can use the language. I can use the language of the instrument.

And a lot of it is language that I created myself (over a period). I didn’t invent the drums et. The technique for it was established years before I was I was born by people like Baby Dodds and the earlier patriarchs of this instrument. But, the piece that I played was all just off the top…I know where I’m going. All these pieces have been set in my memory like when I play a particular piece I know that this is going to be in 9/4 and I know that I’m going to use drumsticks and I know that I’m going to have some kind of thematic phrase or line that will lead me into the piece that I will keep relating to. It’s just that part of it is intellectual and it’s also at random, but it’s with thought….the way I’m trying to talk here this afternoon…without a prepared paper(?) in that area, hoping that people will understand what I have to say and what I’m trying to say. But all of it will be improvised.

There will be…all this stuff has to be of course published so I have to write it out, but I just write out like a lead sheet. Like Cherokee or the blues and you put your own melody to it then you copyright it. But you have to write it out to copyright the material. So all of it in that aspect is to extend it and extend it and extend the thought and the idea. That’s the improvisation depends on the language and the technique as to how you can keep it interesting. You can tell when you’re losing your audience. Folks start walking out or yawning or turning around. But the basic thing is to know how to feel that and dealing with an audience while you’re on stage is something that takes a lot of experiences. You know, you don’t want to overstay your welcome.”

Question (inaudible) – something about drummers

MR: “Well, there are probably more today then there was when I was coming up. Because the fact that you have so much, because you’re privy to so much material. Technology has allowed you to listen to everybody. Listen to them closely. Today I find that there are just a host of wonderful players out there. Just unbelievable players. If I named one…if I named 20 I’d leave out 20. But there are a host of very good players out there. But on the same token, there isn’t a host of true individual creative players. It’s like there’s only one John Coltrane. Only one Buddy Rich. Everybody else would play off of that. There’s only one Elvin Jones for example. You know what I’m saying?

So you know, these guys would come up with some attitude that expresses their personalities to the Nth degree for me. But there are great players out there. Most any of you can call and get on the telephone especially in the cities right here. New York especially. Everybody you call knows what to do. On all instruments today. More so than it was years ago when we didn’t have the records and the sound systems that could we could really pick up on things. I notice when I listen to some of the earlier records that I made you can hardly hear the drums. Technology at the time just wasn’t there.

Most drummers and most historians credit me with saying Max Roach is one of the few drummers that stopped playing the bass drum. That was never true. Because they were analyzing the records and I remember when we would go into studios in those days because you couldn’t play in a band in those days if the leader didn’t hear the bass drum you got fired. But when you went into the studio to record they would put blankets over the drums.

I remember on my first record date 1943 with Coleman Hawkins. Dizzy Gillespie was the contractor. He called me and said Hawk had just come back from Europe and he had that hit instrumental Body and Soul. Hawk made this record that Dizzy wrote some of the music. And when he got to the studio there were one or two mics and that was on the band that was way over here some place. And I was over there some place. And the engineer kept running out of the studio and putting blankets over the bass drum and everything else. Because on 52nd Street where I was playing you could hear the instrument. And I remember saying to Dizzy, I said man if Coleman Hawkins didn’t want a drummer why did you hire me? I was really just pestering my head over it. Dizzy said, “just shut up and play.” But I was really hurt because, but it was technology.

So then when the critics had to listen to this music by way of records, they didn’t hear any bass drum and they assumed that I was not playing the bass drum and that’s not true. It never was true.You always had to play the bass drum. But today now many of the drummer’s today are saying they skate on the bass drum and that’s it. They play once in awhile. But that’s not…you could never get a job with Count Basie playing like that because you have to hear that instrument.”

Question: hard to hear

MR: “You listen to the drummers who are really “just there.” I think one of the greatest rhythm drummers I ever heard in my life was Art Blakey. There’s no one in the world that plays time like that. He had…he could play quarter notes on a complete set with all four limbs and you could recognize it after the first bar. I don’t know any other drummer who you can hear and say “oh, that’s Art.”

It’s like having a singer, but it’s very difficult just to say boom boom boom boom and be that individual with just a quarter note. So time, the rest of it has to do with time. But Art Blakey also was a wonderful pianist. You know, he just passed and I remember they did a world tour because he had cancer and he had all the musicians who had ever worked with him from Wynton Marsalis down to Benny Golson and the whole crowd toured the world. I think it was last year…and everybody knew he was very sick and he said during one of the tv shows they did and I recall he first was a pianist in Pittsburgh. And it’s just by chance he started playing drums because I said you know, you had to play more than one instrument in those days. A little this, a little that. But they say he got off the drum set, went to the piano and played and sang For All We Know We May Never Meet Again. Of course he died a year later.

But the musicians who Golson and these crowds, he had great arrangers and writers and exemplary musicians were just astounded, but they remembered that he was a pianist first. And along with that to all drummers here. I think it’s important that you become as involved with the theory of music just as any other instrumentalist does even though you’re not dealing with melody so to speak. Drummers make great songwriters and they make great leaders. 

Question: about Jim Chapin book

MR: “Yeah, none of us can play it. I’ve done some workshops with Jim when he first came out of the Army and he was hanging around 52nd Street and putting the thing together. And he went hard. When he wrote everything out he was strict with the right hand. To play all that separation and keep this going is all but impossible, for even Jim. Because you have to respond to each other, you know, you just can’t keep it that way. His book did open a lot of doors and explain just what we were talking about earlier about separation, which is that kind of technique that came out of the African percussive experience. You know, that, the basics I remember when I went to Ghana. Mr. Mensah spoke about it earlier.

The university..I proposed a course at U Mass: history of African music and musicians. So, they gave me enough money to buy some instruments to bring back, but I went to Ghana and stayed there for two and a half months. Spent a lot of time at the university _________ African studies department and heard a lot wonderful music there. Brought back a lot of material. One of the things that was fascinating to me, we as drummers, we have mama da…mama daddy mama daddy mama daddy…that’s our basic things. You know, if you want to be a drummer you have to learn how to play singles and double stroke rolls. There if you want to play that instrument you have to learn how to play two against three. These things just became common to us recently.”


MR: “That’s okay, but when I was told this by a gentleman I was studying bellaphone, which is like the vibraphone to us here and his name was ______. He’s taught at the University of California. When he showed me that I said I can do that and I began to play the bellaphone that was my first lesson. Second lesson he had me playing a complete bass line on the bellaphone with the left hand with the quarter note and improvising against that with the right hand.

Well, I stayed in the studio all day long until he finally left and told me, he said, “Well, you keep working at it and I’ll come back.” Very African, he said, “Well, you keep working at it and I’ll come back.” I did not see ______ again until I left. But it was very hard, but the whole principle of playing of thinking independently with all four limbs. They dealt with hands, but thinking with all four limbs is basically what this instrument is about.

And in answer to your question, I agree with you. There is a lot of imitation, but imitation… we learn through imitation.”

Question: inaudible

MR: “It can. It depends on the music. For example, you can’t lock yourself into any one area. I’ve done duets with pianists like Cecil Taylor. And if any of you heard Cecil Taylor’s music and you hit the bandstand with him and you’re doing a duet, your life is at stake. I mean, he goes at the piano like no one I have ever seen or heard.

From the first you know, Columbia University asked the two of us to do a duet together that was recorded and it’s released on Soul Note records. The man, he starts I mean it’s up here and it stays there and if you don’t protect yourself he’ll wash you down the drain. So, you cannot ever think that anything is gonna be soft because he plays with his elbows. And it makes sense and it’s all sequential and it’s very musical study. He came up New England Conservatory. Everything’s like bang, you know. It’s there. But it’s there, you know it’s just there. He practices all the time. So when we hit the stage it was like boom.

I mean you played and you had to make sense and it wasn’t a matter of listening to him as it was creating your own lines constantly. And we played for one and a half hours straight and stopped like that. So, in that situation you can’t adhere to say well, this has got to be soft and this has got to be loud and this gotta be this. In a big band that might work, but in other situations it may not. So you have to be open and flexible.”

Question: (someone asks about the tune Drums from The Charles Mingus Quintet & Max Roach)

MR: “Drums….was I on it? (laughter)

I remember that I went to he was recording at a club in New York City and I came in and he just put me on the bandstand to do something with him and he called it Drum….who’d he call that? It wound up being a duet with the two of us. You’re talkin’ about bass and drums. It was really free form. It’s not free form in the sense of the gentleman asked me earlier how much is improvised and how much is written.

It’s not free form, it’s that you have stored so much knowledge about what you do in your brain and all your experience that when you sit down at the instrument it just comes out. You know about form, you about architecture, you know about tension and release, you know about sequential playing, you know about all these things. So you’re solo encompasses all these different things that help make something understandable, not only to yourself but to the people who are listening to you and the person who you’re working with. And Mingus being the kind of musician he was it was easy to deal with like that. Because you’re constantly listening whereas I said early, you have to listen constantly to yourself and how you relate to everybody else around you if you’re playing improvisation like that. It was a free form piece we were playing. I remember the incident….I forgot what he called that one. In any case, it came out on our record label. He and I started a record label called Debut.”

Question:  (about structure)

MR: “No…___…he’s structured that’s why he could do it I should say that. That’s why he could play. The description of improvisation was like you take some paint throw up on the wall and let it drip down. Whatever happens that what it is. That’s not what it’s about. Charlie Parker knew everything there was to know about harmony, theories related to scales, substitutions and all the things. And of course he knew about architecture musically and how to begin and end and develop and all that is part of his organization to be spontaneous. It took a long time to do that. He had to go through…he was very well structured to get to that point. So if you were going to be free, it would be like freedom isn’t just you know me coming up on the drum set and taking a lot of coins and throwing up in the air and letting it happen and say that’s the piece. There are some composers that do that and but this is hard. This is hard work that takes a lot of time to study to deal with it, but it’s much the same as anything else.

Question: (someone asks about The Drum Also Waltzes)

MR: “It’s about that time….It’s been described as a call and response.

People refer to it as a melodic piece. It’s just a piece that has that kind of form to it because I’m looking for melody I’m looking for more architecture or design. Very simple theme.”

(Max plays closing solo)

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