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Rahsaan Roland Kirk: Brotherman in the Fatherland (2006)

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Rahsaan Roland Kirk: Brotherman in the Fatherland How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Rahsaan Roland Kirk was a master whose genius had to be seen to be believed. His live performances were legendary. Unfortunately Kirk left us in 1977; although we can never truly experience his magic live, we can still hear the electricity of his live performances.

Brotherman in the Fatherland is Hyena Records' third Kirk offering, after a reissue of The Man Who Cried Fire and the highly regarded Compliments of the Mysterious Phantom. Like the latter CD, Brotherman In The Fatherland is a previously unavailable live recording of a legendary March, 1972 performance at the Funkhaus in Germany.

On Brotherman In The Fatherland Kirk is joined pianist Ron Burton, bassist Henry Pete "Mettathias" Pearson, drummer Richie Goldberg and percussionist Joe "Habao" Texidor. Originally broadcast on German television and radio, the concert occasionally has surfaced in bootleg form, but these highly regarded and much-sought after performances have finally been presented in sterling CD audio.

Kirk was sometimes called a "musical gimmick" because of his ability to play so many different instruments (at times simultaneously). But Kirk was no gimmick, he was a virtuoso whose amazing abilities are quite apparent on this recording as he expertly plays tenor saxophone, flute, nose flute, manzello, stritch, clarinet and siren. Occasionally he can be heard playing two or three horns at once.

Kirk's tenor sax has a bright, clean, crisp tone and his band sticks tight. "Like Sonny" is nothing short of stunning, as are a reworking of the Bread tune "Make It With You," a sweet version of "Lush Life," "Rahsaan's Spirit," and "My Girl" (in which Burton's piano intro echoes the intro to "Thunder Road" and middle break found in live versions of "Growin' Up," as played by Roy Bittan from Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band). Kirk's performance on John Coltrane's "Afro Blue," where he plays each and every horn, must be heard to be believed. It leaves you speechless. The show-stopper and finale is a bold, wildly entertaining, bluesy, swinging seventeen-minute tour de force version of Coltrane's "Blue Train."

Track Listing: Intro/Like Sonny; Make It with You; Rahsaan's Spirit; My Girl; Seasons/Serenade to a Cuckoo; Pedal Up; Lush Life; Afro Blue; Blue Trane.

Personnel: Rahsaan Roland Kirk: clarinet, flute, tenor saxophone, stritch, manzello, nose flute; Ron Burton: piano; Richie Goldberg: drums; Henry Pete "Mettathias" Pearson: bass; Joe "Habao" Texidor: percussion.

Record Label: Hyena Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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