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Jazz Musician of the Day: Rahsaan Roland Kirk

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All About Jazz is celebrating Rahsaan Roland Kirk's birthday today!

Kirk was born Ronald Theodore Kirk in Columbus, Ohio, but felt compelled by a dream to transpose two letters in his first name to make Roland. In 1970, Kirk added “Rahsaan" to his name.

Preferring to lead his own groups, Kirk rarely performed as a sideman, though he did record with arranger Quincy Jones, Roy Haynes and had especially notable stints with Charles Mingus. He played the lead flute and solo on Jones' Soul Bossa Nova, a song popularized in the Austin Powers films (Jones 1964; McLeod et al. 1997).

His playing was generally rooted in soul jazz or hard bop, but Kirk's knowledge... Read more.

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