MIchael J. West reflects on the late Max Roach and recognizes this jazz classic:
Is it any wonder that Charlie Parker, a great talent scout, hired Roach for his own band? On “Ko Ko,” the record that broke Parker to the jazz public, the only full-length solo besides Bird’s is Roach’s. That solo is almost as eye-opening as the sax one—the whirl of frenetic cacophony is actually a musical variation on the riffy head Parker had written in place of “Cherokee,” played at blinding speed and utilizing seemingly every sound a trap set can make. Once you really hear it, you’ll never listen to “Ko Ko” in the same way again. It becomes a double revolution, a new way of conceiving percussion just as it’s a new way of phrasing melodies.
I wonder if Roach's death marks the end of the bop area? Although, Michael makes the point that as a musician and artist, the drummer accomplished so much more over a long period of time. Still, it's hard to believe Max was the last living musician from that renowned Massey Hall concert. This reminds me I read Geoffrey Haydon's Quintet of the Year: Massey Hall 1953; The Greatest Jazz Concert of All Time last year. The author manages to successfully weave a book around the careers of the musicians and yet center it on one seminal performance.