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N.C. native Max Roach, master jazz percussionist, dead at 83


NEW YORK (AP) -- North Carolina-born jazz percussionist Max Roach has died at the age of 83.

A spokesman for Blue Note Records says Roach died Wednesday night after a long illness.

The self-taught musical prodigy brought rhythmic innovations and improvisations that provided the beats that defined bebop jazz.

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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