Roland Kirk or Rahsaan Roland Kirk was a truly blessed musician that could play multiple instruments. But more extraordinary, he could play them together by jumping from one to the other and/or he could play them simultaneously, as you can see in the album cover above. And to make it even more hard to believe, he was blind! (Read more below in his biography) This 1960 album, “Introducing Roland Kirk” was his 2nd and is categorized as Hard Bop. It is very entertaining and sometimes borders Avant-Garde in the improvising. Kirk plays the tenor saxophone, the manzello, the whistle and the stritch. The album features trumpet player Ira Sullivan, who happens to play the tenor sax in this album also. Great album, buy it! Enjoy!
About the album:
Despite the title, this is not Roland (he added the Rahsaan in 1969) Kirk’s earliest session as a leader, that being the 1956 release TRIPLE THREAT. However, this classic 1960 session, originally released on Chess’s jazz label Argo, was the first that most heard of the gifted multi-instrumentalist. At the time often dismissed as a novelty for reviving the old vaudeville trick of playing up to three reeds at once, Kirk quickly silenced his critics with his impressive soloing on this record, making it patently obvious that the only answer to the question “How does he play three saxes at once?” was “Extremely well.” Undeniably modern in his tone and playing style, Kirk also exhibits an impressive knowledge of jazz roots and history, covering the standard…….Read More
Biography of Rahsaan Roland Kirk (Wikipedia):
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. He became blind at an early age as a result of poor medical treatment. In 1970, Kirk added “Rahsaan” to his name after hearing it in a dream.
Preferring to lead his own bands, Kirk rarely performed as a sideman, although he did record with arranger Quincy Jones and drummer Roy Haynes and had notable stints with bassist Charles Mingus. One of his best-known recorded performances is the lead flute and solo on Jones’ “Soul Bossa Nova”, a 1964 hit song repopularized 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 of jazz history allowed him to draw on many elements of the music’s past, from ragtime to swing and free jazz. Kirk also absorbed classical influences, and his artistry reflected elements of pop music by composers such as Smokey Robinson and Burt Bacharach, as well as Duke Ellington, John Coltrane and other jazz musicians. The live album Bright Moments (1973) is an example of one of his shows. His main instrument was the tenor saxophone, supplemented by other saxes….Read More