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Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes chronicles the life of iconoclast Max Roach, a jazz musician, bebop pioneer, and accomplished composer. Directed by Sam Pollard as part of PBS’s American Masters documentary series, the film delves into how the inequities of the twentieth century inspired and challenged Roach’s far-reaching ambitions. Through a wealth of archival footage and interviews, the documentary paints a rich portrait of Roach’s stunningly diverse seven-decade career, showcasing him as a musical luminary and cultural activist during periods of heightened racial injustice. Pollard explores Roach’s complex legacy, tracing his legendary achievements, personal struggles, and the toll exacted for his outspoken views from the 1940s to the Civil Rights era. The film’s fascinating engagement with music and activism through the underexplored life of Max Roach offers a unique perspective on the intersection of art and politics throughout American history.

As part of the Carsey-Wolf Center’s Black Hollywood series, we are delighted to welcome director Sam Pollard, who will join moderator Wendy Eley Jackson for a post-screening discussion of Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes and Pollard’s remarkable career as a documentary filmmaker.

Event Details

  • Shenyao Huang
  • Vincent Poitier

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