Max Roach, Jazz Great Dies at 83

Deven Desai

Deven Desai is an associate professor of law and ethics at the Scheller College of Business, Georgia Institute of Technology. He was also the first, and to date, only Academic Research Counsel at Google, Inc., and a Visiting Fellow at Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy. He is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley and the Yale Law School. Professor Desai’s scholarship examines how business interests, new technology, and economic theories shape privacy and intellectual property law and where those arguments explain productivity or where they fail to capture society’s interest in the free flow of information and development. His work has appeared in leading law reviews and journals including the Georgetown Law Journal, Minnesota Law Review, Notre Dame Law Review, Wisconsin Law Review, and U.C. Davis Law Review.

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7 Responses

  1. Patrick S. O'Donnell says:


    Thanks for this fitting and moving tribute. Unfortunately my speakers aren’t working…. There’s an equally moving obituary piece by Don Heckman in today’s Los Angeles Times.

    A film I saw some time ago (can’t recall title), and to the best of my memory was a story of an English publisher’s representative who is sent to work in the South African office during the apartheid era (1960s?) only to become “politicized” in the best sense of the term. The soundtrack was haunting and unforgettable, and I soon learned that most (all?) of it was by Max Roach. Check out Percussion Bitter Sweet (1961 or 1962?). It really does help one keep (or put) things in perspective. (And if in spite of the paucity of clues someone happens to know the name of this film, could you please let me know.)

  2. Dissent says:

    Patrick: are you thinking of the movie, “Cry Freedom” with Denzel Washington and Kevin Kline? That has the plot you’re describing, but Roach didn’t do the sound sound track as far as I remember. Roach contributed to another series by the same name later on, though, and of course, he had the Freedom Now Suite.

    Thanks for the tribute to Roach, Deven. I was a fan of his, and used to spend summer vacations at jazz festivals and jam sessions. Getting to hear him play with Blakey, Elvin Jones, Roy Haynes… well… drugs were superfluous. :)

    Law and jazz: there’s a structure and some rules but you can get really creative as long as you manage to get back to where you’re supposed to be going. Does that help? :)

  3. Patrick S. O'Donnell says:

    No, it was before that movie and in black and white, containing documentary-like although unapproved because not officially censored footage from South Africa of the time. I don’t think it contained any readily recognizable movie stars or big names. [And sorry for the two posts: I intended the second, edited version of the first, which I did not realize got posted.]

  4. Paul Gowder says:

    And if anyone wants a really WILD Max Roach album, check out M’boom. It’s worth it.

  5. Deven says:


    Thanks for pointing folks to the L.A. Times piece.

    A little IMDB search suggests that the film you seek may be Dilemma (1962/II) — the parenthetical is the IMDB notation to distinguish films of the same title. Here is the link Apparently based on the novel A World of Strangers by Nobel laureate Nadine Gordimer.


    Great tip about the album! Thanks much.


  6. Dissent says:

    Paul: thank you for finding that film. I don’t recall ever hearing of “Dilemma” before. Good to know about.

  7. Patrick S. O'Donnell says:


    That’s it! Thanks so much for finding it. I knew it (way back when) under its alternative title, A World of Strangers. Information on the film is available from the director’s (Henning Carlsen) website: You can click on the trailer. It seems I got the album wrong: “As background music you hear Max Roach (drums) and Abbey Lincoln (vocal) from their record ‘Freedom Now Suite’ from 1960.” A wonderful film everyone should see….