258

Rahsaan Roland Kirk: Brotherman in the Fatherland

David Rickert By

Sign in to view read count
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 that many other recordings feature. Throughout, Kirk mainly plays one instrument, usually tenor saxophone, on lengthy improvisations that cover the range of what he was up to at the time: synthesizing the entire spectrum of musical history in wildly unpredictable and entertaining solos. In addition to Kirk's original composition "Serenade to A Cuckoo, rendered delicately (for Kirk, anyway) on flute, the pieces include an obligatory pop tune, "My Girl, and a fiery run through "Lush Life, "Afro Blue and "Blue Train to finish out the disc.

Kirk brings his considerable skills on multiple instruments to the fore (including, of course, the nose flute), backed by a stellar group of musicians who seem content to let the leader cut loose and do as he pleases. Kirk was firmly planted in the avant-garde, blowing out squalls of notes and seemingly endless phrases to create incredibly dense music with just a quartet at his disposal.

There's precious little live Kirk out there, and Brotherman In the Fatherland is a welcome issue of a concert that had circulated as a bootleg for years. While I find Kirk's work at times frustrating and uneven, this disc is a fine example of maverick musicianship from one of jazz's true oddballs.


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.

Title: Brotherman in the Fatherland | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Hyena Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Whispers on the Wind CD/LP/Track Review Whispers on the Wind
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman CD/LP/Track Review Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Heptagon CD/LP/Track Review Heptagon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 23, 2017
Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read "Anti-Hero" CD/LP/Track Review Anti-Hero
by Mike Jacobs
Published: September 1, 2017
Read "Live at Club Helsinki" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Club Helsinki
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: June 5, 2017
Read "Transparent Water" CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "The Lovers card" CD/LP/Track Review The Lovers card
by James Nadal
Published: August 15, 2017
Read "Yellow Red Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Yellow Red Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 2, 2016
Read "Satori" CD/LP/Track Review Satori
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 1, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.