176

Rahsaan Roland Kirk: Brotherman to the Fatherland

Kurt Gottschalk By

Sign in to view read count
Rahsaan Roland Kirk: Brotherman to the Fatherland 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 notable thing about Kirk, who freely borrowed from any number of styles to create his own branding of black music. But as Joel Dorn—Kirk's producer during his years at Atlantic, where he recorded his best albums—continues to dig up unreleased live tapes, that is what stands out. Kirk died almost thirty years ago at the age of 41, and we're fortunate to have a healthy stock of his work available, with no small debt of gratitude to Dorn. But as the titles continue to come, there needs to be something to sell them. And finding something that measures up to the 21-minute "Saxophone Concerto on Prepare Thyself to Deal With a Miracle (Atlantic, 1973) would itself be miraculous.

The supporting band on Brotherman (pianist Ron Burton, bassist Henry Peter Pearson and percussionists Richie Goldberg and Joe "Habao Texidor) is solid, if not his strongest. There are moments of pure Rahsaan idiosyncrasy, as on "Seasons/Serenade to a Cuckoo, and powerful extended playing on "Pedal Up.

But that ain't where the party's at. What was going on in the Fatherland was like this: Opening with Coltrane's "Like Sonny and plowing straight into Bread's "Make It With You, a seven-minute bop excursion ("Rahsaan's Spirit ) and Smokey Robinson's "My Girl, the band hits two more Kirk comps and then a slightly forced "Lush Life, a rolling version of Mongo Santamaria's largely Trane-identified "Afro Blue, and a powerful closing take of Coltrane's "Blue Trane. Essential? I dunno. But it's a joy. Being in possession of a time machine would be the best, and perhaps the only reason for not checking this recording out.

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

Personnel: Ron Burton: piano; Henry Peter Pearson "Merrathias": bass; Richie Goldberg: drums; Joe "Havao" Texidor: percussion.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Hyena Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Peace and Love: A Tribute to Will Connell CD/LP/Track Review Peace and Love: A Tribute to Will Connell
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Oaktree CD/LP/Track Review Oaktree
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Green With Envy CD/LP/Track Review Green With Envy
by James Nadal
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Luma CD/LP/Track Review Luma
by Geannine Reid
Published: March 28, 2017
Read My Foolish Heart CD/LP/Track Review My Foolish Heart
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Ha Noi Duo CD/LP/Track Review Ha Noi Duo
by Ian Patterson
Published: March 27, 2017
Read "I Have Known Mountains" CD/LP/Track Review I Have Known Mountains
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 25, 2016
Read "Live in 1967 Volume Two" CD/LP/Track Review Live in 1967 Volume Two
by Doug Collette
Published: May 28, 2016
Read "Protean Reality" CD/LP/Track Review Protean Reality
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 24, 2016
Read "The Long Journey Home" CD/LP/Track Review The Long Journey Home
by James Nadal
Published: March 17, 2017
Read "Long After Midnight" CD/LP/Track Review Long After Midnight
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 21, 2016
Read "Intersection" CD/LP/Track Review Intersection
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 9, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!