Max Roach

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Conversation Review

by Scott Yanow

This attractive but out-of-print double LP combines together the two Max Roach albums Deeds, Not Words and Speak, Brother Speak, both of which have fortunately been reissued separately on CD. The former session from 1958 gives one some valuable features for trumpeter Booker Little and, in addition to the tenor of George Coleman and bassist Art Davis, spotlights the tuba of Ray Draper as a melody instrument. "Conversation" (a Roach drum solo), "You Stepped out of a Dream" and "It's You or No One" are the highpoints. The latter date is quite a bit different for it showcases Roach's 1962 quartet (with Clifford Jordan on tenor, pianist Mal Waldron and bassist Eddie Khan) really stretching out on a pair of the drummer's compositions in versions that exceed 22 minutes apiece. These two underrated sessions reward repeated listenings.

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