Daily Inspiration: We Insist! Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite Live

“Driva Man/”Tears for Johannesburg”

Penned by Roach and singer/songwriter Oscar Brown Jr. and recorded in 1960, We Insist! stands as one of the most forceful politically charged jazz records of its time, blurring Afrocentricity and Civil Rights into a stirring narrative. This overseas broadcast of unknown origin finds Roach in a quintet setting, performing the album in its entirety, with Roach operating at full power and his then wife Abbey Lincoln, who is pouring her heart out with every note. Sometimes the group – which also features Clifford Jordan, Eddie Kahn and Coleridge Perkins – delivering these caged bird laments in a traditional stage setting, other times they are quite literally behind behind bars. There is a lot of music on YouTube and this is quite possibly the most powerful of it all. I am always searching for modern music that bleeds as brutally as stuff like this does, if you have any suggestions please leave them in the comments. If not just listen and have your wig blown completely back.


“Triptych: Prayer/Protest/Peace”


“All Africa”


“Freedom Day”

POSTED August 19, 2011 4:31PM IN MUSIC VIDEO Comments (9) TAGS:

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  1. Matthew Africa says:

    Those clips are amazing.

    Ever see Ivan Dixon’s “Nothing But a Man”? Lincoln is so gorgeous.

  2. vincent says:

    oh shijt! its africa and nosnitskyy…..takin notes from da blog godfathers!!!

    “I am always searching for modern music that bleeds as brutally as stuff like this does”

    aint happenin brudda

  3. YES. We Insist! is so unfairly overlooked by so many…even self-proclaimed jazz fans.

    these clips are fantastic. Thank you, Mr. Noz, for making my night.

  4. O says:

    just when I thought after reading your shit for 4-5 years that we weren’t the same person . Apparently we are though .

  5. Pingback: FADER’s Daily Inspiration: We insist! » Music Matters - Bellosound Blog

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  7. nkb says:

    One of my favourites, so glad to see this here.

    Have you heard Marvin “Hannibal” Peterson – The Angels of Atlanta? Not modern (1981, but certainly in the same style of a lot of Roach’s avant-garde stuff, particularly “It’s Time”), with a particularly depressing backstory. Another one of my favourites.

  8. scjoha says:

    Yeah, great clips. German public TV used to produce a lot of great shows, documentaries, and broadcasted whole concerts of jazz music.
    A lot of American jazz greats used to live in France, rocked German TV and festivals, and recorded for European labels. Seems like America never had much love for them. Mile Davis being the lone exception.
    Noz, did you ever hear about guitarist James Blood Ulmer?

  9. scjoha says:

    Random thoughts:
    The drums on “Peace” would make a good hip hop beat.

    Abbey Lincoln is pure beauty on “Peace”.

    Watching “Triptych” reminded me of “Pulse”, solo album by drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson, from 1984. He kinda raps/recites Sterling A. Brown poems on “Puttin’ On Dog” and “Slim In Atlanta”, simultaneously playing his own dope beat. On “Richard III, Raven” he hoes apeshit, grunting and screaming chunks of Shakespeare and Poe to his freeflowing improvised drumming, out of which dope beat patterns emerge like flashes in a wild roaring sea. Beauty and passion.