Max Roach - We Insist! Freedom Now Suite LP
Release Date: March 15th, 2024
An avant-garde masterpiece, a vocal-instrumental suite, a work of collective improvisation, directly addressing the racial and political issues of it's day, We Insist! Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite is one of the most important artistic statements of Civil Rights Movement and one of the most groundbreaking jazz albums of all time.
Max Roach was already almost a decade into his career as one of the most influential jazz drummers and composers when he teamed up with lyricist Oscar Brown Jr. to collaborate on a piece they planned to perform at the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1963. Recorded just months after the February 1960 Greensboro sit-ins, the album stands as an early musical testament to the burgeoning rage, anger and passion that would take the Civil Rights Movement from its early victory in Montgomery in 1955 into a future that would dramatically alter race relations in the United States.
The second release from the newly launched New York City based jazz label Candid Records, and produced by label co-founder, famed music critic and social activist, Nat Hentoff, the album is a bold statement, focused on civil injustices in black history ranging from slavery to contemporary racial prejudices, and featuring some of the finest jazz musicians ever, including Abbey Lincoln, Coleman Hawkins, Eric Dolphy, Booker Little, and Michael Babatunde Olatunji.
The five movements of the work are organized as a historical progression through African-American history, a shape similar to the one in Duke Ellington's Black, Brown and Beige. The Freedom Now Suite moves from slavery to Emancipation Day to the contemporary civil-rights struggle and African independence.
The LP includes extraordinary liner notes written by Hentoff himself, giving a context and insight that adds to the experience of hearing these magnificent performances.