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Max Roach — the indomitable drummer, activist, bandleader and composer — was born 100 years ago this month, on Jan. 10, 1924. His centenary is the perfect opportunity to reconsider how his genius changed the game, and not just in rhythmic terms. So in this episode, we talk about Max as an innovator and a liberator, a connector and a catalyst. We also consider his sterling example as an elder, with insights from Nasheet Waits — one of Max’s leading inheritors on drums, someone he mentored from an early age. Nasheet has incredible stories to tell, and he shares them here.

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The Late Set is produced by Alex Ariff.

Greg Bryant has been a longtime curator of improvisational music as a broadcaster, writer, host and musician. As a young child, he began absorbing the artistry of Miles Davis, Les McCann, Jimmy Smith, James Brown, Ornette Coleman, Weather Report, and Jimi Hendrix via his parent's record collection. He was so moved by what he was experiencing that he took pride in relaying all of his discoveries with anyone who would listen.
Nate Chinen has been writing about music for more than 25 years. He spent a dozen of them working as a critic for The New York Times, and helmed a long-running column for JazzTimes. As Editorial Director at WRTI, he oversees a range of classical and jazz coverage, and contributes regularly to NPR.