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Happy 95th Birthday to Max Roach

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Max Roach with Count von Count on the set of Sesame Street, 1990. Max Roach Papers, Music Division.

Today marks the 95th birthday of jazz drummer, bandleader and educator Max Roach (1924-2007). His papers are among the most heavily researched jazz archival collections in the Music Division revealing much about jazz and the intersection of modernism and the development of Black political consciousness in 20th-century music. And though the collection includes a draft of his autobiography co-written with Amiri Baraka, no one has yet written a definitive biography of this pioneering percussionist and activist. Researchers can view the finding aid to the Max Roach Papers here.

In 2014, we gathered members of the Roach family, including Roach’s wife Janus Adams, his children Daryl, Maxine, Raoul, Dara and Ayo and poet Sonia Sanchez to announce the acquisition and discuss the significance of the papers. Watch the webcast or view the transcript from that special announcement and conversation here on the Library’s website.


  1. Happy Birthday, Max, have a great bday.
    Shalom Joe,

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