All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

471

Roland Kirk with Jack McDuff: Kirk's Work

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Technically his third album, following Introducing Roland Kirk (Chess, 1960), and a previously unissued R&B session (Triple Threat), Kirk's Work pre-dates the boundless surrealism of his post-Rahsaan era. Sharing the bill with organist Jack McDuff, the record is commonly regarded as a fairly straight-ahead date made years before Kirk gradually transformed from a stunning virtuoso multi-instrumentalist into an iconic musical shaman. While not as outrageous as some of Kirk's later albums, this sublime 1961 date has its fair share of unusual subtle surprises, providing a few early examples of the man's twisted genius.

Already displaying remarkable prowess on his menagerie of thrift-store horns (manzello, stritch, siren), Kirk displays each to its own effect. His ability to play two and three saxophones at a time is already apparent, although his mastery of circular breathing was still a few years away. He limits his doubling to supportive riffing, rather than intertwining solo counterpoint, but the distinctive sound of his massed horns is still present.

"Funk Underneath" showcases Kirk's nascent vocalized flute stylings, blending gruff vocalizations with soaring flute harmonics. The dark-hued title track and "Skater's Waltz" demonstrate Kirk's aggressive hard bop attack, something he perfected over the course of his Atlantic Records tenure as he ascended from swinging modernist into unclassifiable genius.

The rhythm section contributes heavily to the session, providing more than just run of the mill backbeats for Kirk to riff over. Jack McDuff's greasy down home organ instills the session with a buoyant sensibility, celebratory and optimistic. Benjamin and Taylor are a tight, snappy rhythm section, Taylor strikes hard and deep, sounding at times like Roy Haynes. "Doin' The Sixty-Eight" finds the rhythm duo deep in a pulsating polyrhythmic groove, dragging Kirk and McDuff headfirst into the infectious Latin rhythms.

A solid and infinitely enjoyable album easily overlooked in the massive and convoluted discography of such a diverse artist, Kirk's Work is more than just an embryonic session. It's an accessible classic, the sort of unconventional soul jazz/hard bop hybrid that only Roland Kirk could deliver.


Track Listing: Three For Dizzy; Makin' Whoopee; Funk Underneath; Kirk's Work; Doin' The Sixty-Eight; Too Late Now; Skater's Waltz.

Personnel: Roland Kirk: tenor saxophone; manzello; stritch, flute, siren; Jack McDuff: Hammond organ; Joe Benjamin: bass; Arthur Taylor: drums.

Title: Kirk's Work | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Prestige Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Rumah Batu CD/LP/Track Review
Rumah Batu
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 17, 2018
Read The Bat Swings! CD/LP/Track Review
The Bat Swings!
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 17, 2018
Read Terrestrial CD/LP/Track Review
Terrestrial
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 17, 2018
Read Get Somethin' CD/LP/Track Review
Get Somethin'
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 17, 2018
Read Bansangu Orchestra CD/LP/Track Review
Bansangu Orchestra
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 17, 2018
Read Smart Grid CD/LP/Track Review
Smart Grid
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 16, 2018
Read "Lux" CD/LP/Track Review Lux
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 20, 2018
Read "I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert" CD/LP/Track Review I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 8, 2018
Read "Genuinity" CD/LP/Track Review Genuinity
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 31, 2018
Read "I Know Who I Am" CD/LP/Track Review I Know Who I Am
by James Nadal
Published: July 26, 2017
Read "Unfamiliar Surroundings" CD/LP/Track Review Unfamiliar Surroundings
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 10, 2017
Read "Egregore" CD/LP/Track Review Egregore
by John Eyles
Published: April 22, 2018