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THE VINYL POST

Roland Kirk: The Limelight/Verve Albums

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Several years ago when this writer was looking for rarities to include in the column Jazz From the Vinyl Junkyard, the chances for the medium to make a huge comeback seemed to be slim at best. Fast forward and it seems that vinyl is the new black, with efforts to market it to a fresh and younger audience. The availability of simple to operate and affordable turntables aids the process. And until just recently, Stereophile magazine had an entire column, The Entry Level, devoted to putting together a great system on a budget. Further stoking this trend, Blue ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Rahsaan Roland Kirk: Spirits Up Above - The Atlantic Years 1965-1976

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Rahsaan Roland KirkSpirits Up Above: The Atlantic Years 1965-1976Warner Jazz2012He was as funky as singer James Brown. With three horns in his mouth, he sounded like the entire JB reed section. And onstage, with a truckload of instruments around his neck, he was the hardest working man in jazz business. Saxophonist, flautist, clarinetist and multiple custom-reed instrumentalist Rahsaan Roland Kirk (1936-77) livened up the music scene like few other artists before or since.Blind since early childhood, Kirk started out as an R&B tenor player. He recorded his first album, Third ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

Jazz Icons: Rahsaan Roland Kirk Live in '63 and '67

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Jazz Icons: Rahsaan Roland Kirk live in '63 and '67Jazz Icons2008In her forward to the Jazz Icons Series 3: Rahsaan Roland Kirk live in '63 and '67, Dorthann Kirk praised the DVD for showing her husband's talent “as a complete musician and not just a musical freak who played three horns simultaneously." That said, Kirk may not ever be seen as a jazz musician. He was no more typical a musician than Art Tatum. Both men, because of their respective loams of talent, could legitimately be considered “freaks" but only in the best sense ...

ARTIST PROFILES

Rahsaan Roland Kirk: Classic Black Classical Musician

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As the thirtieth anniversary of his passing (Dec. 5th, 1977) approaches, Rahsaan Roland Kirk remains a palpable presence and pervading influence, musically and personally. A complex man of seemingly paradoxical traits, he was a childlike prankster with old-soul wisdom, a self-touting egoist who humbly honored his musical forefathers, a tradition-bound futuristic pioneer, a highly combative man who'd walk that extra mile for a friend, a vaudevillian show-boater who took music more seriously than most--in sum, an unorthodox and ultimately uncategorizable original. In search of this man, I sought out some of the people who knew and associated with him.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rahsaan Roland Kirk: Brotherman to the Fatherland

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Of all the people trying to put jazz on the pop charts in the anything-goes period of the late '60s and early '70s--all the way up to Albert Ayler, for the love of Pete--probably the most successful at bridging the gap without watering it down was Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Long before the Steven Bernsteins and JA Granellis of the world were inflecting pop covers with jazz energy (and ignoring the instrumental and lethargic pop renditions of his contemporaries), Kirk was making exciting, full-throttle versions of some great--and unlikely--radio hits of the day. That's far from the only ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rahsaan Roland Kirk: Brotherman in the Fatherland

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The Masked Announcer, Joel Dorn, once again conjures up a brilliant, unheard tape by the late, lamented, legendary Rahsaan Roland Kirk. This time he brings us 34-year-old performances recorded for German radio and television (a later DVD edition, perhaps?), and officially released here for the first time. Relaxed and happy within the context of his regular working band, Rahsaan bares it all, from inhuman technique to limitless imagination, oceanic heart and soul. The collection focuses on Kirk's mastery of the tenor saxophone, with a generous helping of Coltrane covers.

A free form intro stretches the band, that then coalesces for ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rahsaan Roland Kirk: Brotherman in the Fatherland

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It must have been something to catch a live performance by Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Of course he plays multiple instruments at the same time on albums, but wouldn't it have been cool to actually see him do it? Unfortunately, this trick tended to obscure Kirk's talents as an improviser and composer in some circles, as his detractors labeled him a sideshow instead of a serious musician.

Brotherman In the Fatherland, a 1972 concert recording from Germany's Funkhaus, will help cement Kirk's reputation as a jazz musician of considerable merit. For one thing, there's less of the multi-instrumental prowess ...



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