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Iconic Jazz Drummer Max Roach Honored With Bed-Stuy Street Naming

The corner of Marcy and Greene Avenues is now Max Roach Way.
The corner of Greene Avenue and Marcy Avenue is now Max Roach Way.

Jazz musician and composer Max Roach was honored Wednesday during a street naming ceremony on the corner of Greene and Marcy Avenues in Bedford Stuyvesant.

The iconic jazz drummer and Civil Rights activist was born in North Carolina but was raised in Brooklyn, according to ABC News 7 New York

Born in 1924, Roach grew up in Bedford-Stuyvesant during the Great Depression. In 1940, he lived with his parents at 541 Greene Ave., a period during which he was already honing his musical skills and immersing himself in the local jazz scene, wrote Raoul Roach, the musician's son, on Facebook. 

A tribute to jazz musician Max Roach. Photo: Supplied/Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

Roach attended Boys High School in Brooklyn, and by the age of 18, he had secured his first professional gig with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, marking the beginning of a legendary career, Raoul Roach said.

In addition, Roach co-founded Brooklyn-based, Debut Records with Charles Mingus, the first musician-owned record label, which played a pivotal role in the advancement of jazz, Roach's son said.

The musician also launched Milma Publishing Company, which owns the rights to his seminal activist works, The Freedom Now Suite and Members Don’t Get Weary.

Roach was also the first jazz musician ever honored with a MacArthur Fellowship, or "Genius Grant." He died in 2007, according to ABC News 7.

"Max was basically a physician because music can heal, and there's so much hate out there that can divide us, he had the power to reconnect us," said New York City Mayor Eric Adams at the ceremony. 

The musician's family is planning a series of events in honor of what would have been his100th birthday in August, as the music great is remembered by the next generation, his neighborhood and city, the TV station reported.