Freedom... In Progress

The Joyce Theater joins the nationwide centennial celebration of the iconic drummer, composer, and activist Max Roach with an evening of commissioned works made in tribute to this legendary Jazz pioneer. Curated by Richard Colton, this special program brings Joyce artists together in conversation with Roach’s lasting legacy set to recordings of the late musician performing his greatest works.

Characterized by its Afro-Cuban percussion, the 1961 album Percussion Bitter Sweet becomes the soundscape for choreographer Ronald K. Brown and Arcell Cabuag’s latest work for dancers from Havana-based Malpaso Dance Company and Brown’s own EVIDENCE, A Dance Company. In The Dream/It’s Time, Roach’s band joins a recording of Martin Luther King Jr. in an aspirational and urgent conversation, now amplified by the streetdance storytelling of Rennie Harris Puremovement. Tap artist Ayodele Casel performs an explosively theatrical solo set to a series of duets between Roach and fellow Jazz pioneer, pianist Cecil Taylor. The program opens with Max Roach Live: Video Art by Kit Fitzgerald, a short film by video artist Kit Fitzgerald with footage from her decade-long collaboration with Roach, highlighting Roach’s influence across artistic disciplines.