Duo with Arnie Lawrence

Max Roach

A fascinating alto-drums duet

In the 1970s and ‘80s, drummer Max Roach recorded a series of duet albums with such greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Archie Shepp, Anthony Braxton and Cecil Taylor.

While those projects (other than the one with Gillespie) tended to be avant-garde, this clip with altoist Arnie Lawrence is much more traditional.

Lawrence, who in his career had worked with such drummers as Chico Hamilton and Louis Bellson, had a wide knowledge of swing and bop (his tone is influenced by Charlie Parker) yet also had no difficulty improvising freely.

This free and fun improvisation which was performed at a concert in Jerusalem, is often catchy, finds Lawrence quoting “And The Angels Sing” and “Mop Mop” in various spots, and has Roach hinting in his drumming at Jo Jones and New Orleans jazz.

– Scott Yanow