Review: MAX ROACH 100 at The Joyce Theater for Extraordinary Music and Dance  

On stage through April 7th, 2024.

By: Apr. 05, 2024
Review: MAX ROACH 100 at The Joyce Theater for Extraordinary Music and Dance  
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Weekend plans?  We have a suggestion that our readers will thoroughly enjoy.  Max Roach 100, a centennial celebration of the gifted artist, is being performed at The Joyce Theater through Sunday, 4/7.  Dance works, set to the musical rhythms of Max Roach, are wonderfully conceived and executed.  The entire program, curated by Richard Colton, will have you fascinated from the first minute to the last.  We attended the Wednesday opening night performance when the audience gave the dancers a standing ovation.

Review: MAX ROACH 100 at The Joyce Theater for Extraordinary Music and Dance  

Max Roach was a world-renowned master percussionist and composer, a major force in the development of contemporary American music.  He played with the greats such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Miles Davis and many more. His talents have influenced musicians for decades.  As an advocate for civil rights, Roach’s social consciousness was evident in his music, as his sound was inseparable from his commitment to justice and equality.  His admirable personal qualities were well represented in the presentation, Max Roach 100.

Review: MAX ROACH 100 at The Joyce Theater for Extraordinary Music and Dance   The program opened with a short film by video artist, Kit Fitzgerald with archival footage of Max Roach performing solo.  It was a splendid opportunity to admire Roach's innovative style and uncanny sense of rhythm.  The evening continued with a stunning tap solo, Freedom…In Progress by Ayodele Casel, devised by Ayodele Casel and Torya Beard.  The music by Max Roach and Cecil Taylor, “Duet Improvisation #2” was an ideal selection for Casel’s improvisational dance that showcased remarkable footwork and quick, spirited rhythms. 

Review: MAX ROACH 100 at The Joyce Theater for Extraordinary Music and Dance  

After a brief intermission the program continued with Jim Has Crowed with choreography by Rennie Harris and music by Max Roach. Roach’s band is joined by an inspirational voice recording by Martin Luther King Jr. Thirteen of Rennie Harris Puremovement dancers starkly clad in modern black clothing performed a stirring street dance piece that magnifies the need for change and civil rights.  Energetic and emotive, the dance is an excellent testimony to Roach’s legacy of activism as well as his music that has inspired hip-hop artists.

Review: MAX ROACH 100 at The Joyce Theater for Extraordinary Music and Dance  

After a brief pause, the audience was treated to Percussion Bitter Sweet: Tender Warriors that was choreographed by Ronald K. Brown and Arcell Cabaug. Characterized by Afro-Cuban percussion it was performed by the dancers from Evidence and Malpaso dance companies. This collaborative effort topped off the program. Five of Max Roach’s musical pieces provided the inspiration for a series of upbeat and joyous, dance works that showcased individual dancers and the two troupes as a perfect collective.     

Max Roach 100 with its commissioned dance works and the exquisite music of Max Roach is a show that you will not want to miss. Get your tickets and relish a performance that will be an unforgettable part of your spring entertainment schedule. 

Max Roach 100 at The Joyce Theater can be seen through 4/7.  The Theater is located at 175 Eighth Avenue, at 19th Street.  For ticketing and more information, visit https://www.joyce.org/.

Photo Credit: Steven Pisano
 

 




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