Clifford Brown & Max Roach (1954)

AlbumClifford Brown & Max Roach

Artist: Clifford Brown & Max Roach

Genre: Hard Bop

Grade: A+

I find it impossible not to give this album a perfect score. Setting aside its place in history as the harbinger of hard bop, Clifford Brown & Max Roach does not have a single wasted second. “Delilah,” “Parisian Thoroughfare,” “Daahoud” and “Jordu” are classic jazz standards whose choruses become permanently cemented in your memory after first listen. The playing is tight and uniform despite the frenetic nature of several tracks, and that’s all from Brown and Roach’s unwavering chemistry.

Brown stakes his claim as the greatest trumpeter alive, but Roach is even more impressive. He is quite possibly the greatest drummer who ever lived, and he controls every one of these songs with a steady pulse that never relents. It is only because of alphabetical aesthetics that he doesn’t receive top billing.

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