If there's any doubt left about Rahsaan Roland Kirk's brilliance, then this newly issued and previously unreleased live recording provides yet more evidence of his talents. Culled from tapes of his band's 1972 performance at Hamburg, Germany's Funkhaus, these sides present Kirk's all-encompassing approach to jazz. Asymmetrical combining free-form, pop-jazz and dabs of world music, the multi-reedman uses his modified saxophones, manzello and stritch, for additional tone clusters and divergence. Pianist Ron Burton's ascending choruses and harmonic chord progressions draw a very close to parallel to McCoy Tyner, yet he remains a strong foil for the leader. Kirk's blistering flurries and power-packed phrasing set the parameters for turbocharged musical realism.
Kirk morphs a hot and nasty blues vamp into the soul/pop hit "Make It With You. Elsewhere, he directs the quintet into tumultuous, free-form exhibitions embedded with drummer Richie Goldberg and percussionist Joe "Habao Texidor's crashing rhythms. Regardless, one of Kirk's gifts lies within his ability to reengineer melody lines into submission as he liberates familiar themes with fury and resolve. Kirk's showmanship surfaces on "Pedal Up, where he sustains one note for over a minute, without a break.
The quintet finalizes the set with venomous takes on John Coltrane's "Afro Blue" and "Blue Trane. These performances by Kirk and his hard-hitting ensemble give credence to the notion that jazz is a timeless craft. Bona fide pioneers like Kirk can motivate and entertain in a consistent fashion, and also provide a jazz education along the way. Essential listening.
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.