"Speak" Speaks Loudly
Michael B. Richman | Portland, Maine USA | 08/03/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Speak, Brother, Speak" captures the Max Roach Quartet during a live performance at the Jazz Workshop in 1962. The album boasts two extended compositions of approximately twenty minutes each. The first, the title track, begins with a doo-wop/rock style rhythm that is a bit redundant in the opening minutes. But Max's bandmates, Clifford Jordan, Mal Waldron and Eddie Kahn, quickly take things outward, climaxing with an extended Roach drum solo. "A Variation" is a more consistent and successful composition, with an opening reminiscent of John Coltrane's spiritual, avant-garde explorations. When things get swinging, Roach propels the group along as only he can. In my opinion, "Speak, Brother, Speak" is a notch behind "Deeds, Not Words" and "Percussion, Bitter Sweet," but very enjoyable all the same."
Nicolas Mamarbachi | Paris, France | 08/28/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the best Max Roach album and one of the best album in the history of jazz. The rythm section swings soulfully, with a complexity which makes it so enjoyable to focus on it entirely. The tempos of both tunes are ballad-like with the energy of the swingest high tempo tunes. All the musicians were in a very good shape that night and they fit perfectly. This is too bad they only made one album together. The solos progress extraordinary well in intensity. Jesus in person was the invisible conductor of this absolutely delightful quartet. Jordan excells like in no other context and I understand better each time, listening to this live a hundred times, why Coltrane was inspired by his playing. Maldron solos are of the same high quality of the ones with Dolphy at the five spot, and Khan shows a Sam Jones oriented feeling and makes great bass lines that should be focused on. I won't tell about Roach, music speaks better than words."