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Max Roach and M'Boom: Diasporic Soundings in American Percussion Music


Max Roach founded M’Boom as a New York City based musical collective in 1970 with an open-ended idea to explore the full range of sound offered by percussion instruments. Additionally, like many of Roach’s musical projects, the ensemble was also

conceived as a social and political project. This dissertation explores the aesthetics, politics and broader theoretical and historical contexts surrounding and leading to the percussion ensemble M’Boom.

In 2015 I began compiling source materials on M’Boom, including press releases, record reviews, audio recordings and other documents. I conducted interviews with surviving members of the ensemble including Joe Chambers, Warren Smith, and Eli Fountain. I also helped coordinate the archiving of previously uncirculated M’Boom percussion scores at UC San Diego’s Geisel Library, and led a performance of selected compositions with an 8-piece ensemble. In this dissertation I draw from these materials, as well as from a number of more generally relevant scholarly sources.

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