Max Roach – Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite: We Insist
Vinyl trasnsfer in 24-bit/192 kHz | FLAC | 300 dpi + web scans | Bebop, Hard Bop
Candid CLP 30021 | Record Store Day 2022 | Orig.rel. 1961
“The Beat has a rich and magnificent history…” We could do worse than to commemorate Juneteenth with this epoch-defining slab of jazz directly from the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement. Max Roach and vocalist Abbey Lincoln (soon to be married in 1962) lead an ensemble that includes other luminaries like Coleman Hawkins, Julian Priester, Olatunji, and Booker Little. Also hiding out in the credits is the young percussionist Ray Mantilla (misspelled as ‘Mantillo’ on the jacket), who would go on to a long career in Latin jazz and hard salsa. From the iconic lunch counter cover photo, through the opening voice and tambourine of “Driva’ Man”, through the proto-Afro-centricity of the second side (“All Africa” and “Tears For Johannesburg”), the record veers between exhilaration and solemnity. And, some righteous anger: the middle section of the composition ‘Triptych’, titled “Protest”, sees Lincoln erupting in screams that echo across continents and centuries.
Oscar Brown composed lyrics for the compositions but was not involved in the recording. Controversial when released, and not receiving critical accolades until later, it’s probably the earliest mainstream example of a an explicitly political, anti-colonial statement from the burgeoning, Black musical avant-garde. Though it may be a natural progression from Mingus’ collaborations with Langston Hughes from just a few years earlier, it’s a generational shift from those last-hurrahs from the Harlem Renaissance, trading in reflection for reflex, and musing for militancy. Uncompromising, ambitious, and averse to any easy resolutions – musical or otherwise – this is a true cornerstone of modern jazz. In 2022, it was added to the registry of historically and culturally important recordings at the Library of Congress. This Record Store Day pressing on clear vinyl was mastered by Bernie Grundman and it sounds stellar.
A1 – Driva’ Man (05:10)
A2 – Freedom Day (06:02)
A3 –Triptych: Prayer, Protest, Peace
B1 – All Africa (07:57)
B2 – Tears For Johannesburg (09:36)
Bass – James Schenck (tracks: A1, A2, B1, B2)
Congas – Michael Olatunji (tracks: B1, B2)
Drums – Max Roach
Percussion – Raymond Mantillo (tracks: B1, B2), Tomas du Vall (tracks: B1, B2)
Tenor Saxophone – Coleman Hawkins (tracks: A1), Walter Benton (tracks: A1, A2, B1, B2)
Trombone – Julian Priester (tracks: A1, A2, B1, B2)
Trumpet – Booker Little (tracks: A1, A2, B1, B2)
Vocals – Abbey Lincoln
Engineer – Bob D’Orleans
Lacquer Cut By – BG
Liner Notes, Supervised By – Nat Hentoff
Remastered By – Bernie Grundman
LINEAGE: 2022 RSD Candid CLP 30021; Pro-Ject RM-5SE with Audio Tecnica Signet TK7E cartridge; Speedbox power supply; Pro-Ject Tube Box S2 preamp with Philips NOS ECC83 tubes; Audioquest Black Mamba and Pangea Premier interconnect cables; RME Babyface Pro interface ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 192khz; spoken introductions, track A1 and track E1 declicked with ClickRepair; other clicks and pops removed manually with Adobe Audition 3.0; resampled, dithered, converted to FLAC using iZotope RX Advanced. Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag and Rename.
FLAC (all resolutions)