Drummer and North Carolina native Max Roach has died. His rhythmic innovations and improvisations provided the beats that defined bebop jazz.
A spokesman for Blue Note Records says Roach died last night after a long illness at the age of 83. The spokesman says Roach -- a self-taught musical prodigy -- died at an undisclosed hospital in Manhattan.
Roach received his first musical break at age 16, filling in for three nights in 1940 when Duke Ellington's drummer fell ill. That led him to the legendary Minton's Playhouse in Harlem, where he joined luminaries Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie in the burgeoning bebop movement.
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