connoisseur series500

Roland Kirk rankings

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I randomly bumped an old friends parents today. The mum had heard that I was into more avant garde jazz and wanted to talk to me about Roland Kirk, who, along with Ornette Coleman, had obviously entranced her as a kid (were Atlantic artists particularly visible in 1960s Southgate?). 

It's got me back in a Kirk mood - an artist I have always enjoyed without ever quite cracking. 

The above is a great thread, with some excellent recommendations, but I would be interested to know which single record people think most shows Kirk at his best in soloing terms, as opposed to in overall concept / presentation. 

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Probably We Free Kings. 

Best flute album I Talk with the Spirits and not just Kirk!

Saw Kirk twice: at Ronnie Scott's with  a house rhythm section and at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester in the sensational company of Benny Bailey and Philly Joe Jones. 

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Posted (edited)

AFAIK it has never been officially issued (and sound quality is not good), but I think the very best Rahsaan as a soloist can be heard on this New Year's Eve live at the Village Vanguard in 1973,  Try " Wow, Look At Those Beautiful Black Indians".  On this disguised version of "Cherokee", Rahsaan is clearly inspired by his sidekick Kenny Rogers (bari sax) and tries to outblow him.  Kirk on full dueling mode, with some humor!

 

Edited by mhatta

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Some of my favorite Roland Kirk solos aren't on his own records. His work on Mingus's Oh Yeah! made that album one of my very favorites by Mingus. Likewise, Kirk's solos on Roy Haynes' Out of The Afternoon make that record essential. For consistency of solo work from his own records, I'd say that Domino, with all the bonus material, is a strong contender.

My favorite Roland Kirk album has always been Slightly Latin. Kirk adds baritone saxophone to his arsenal + the voices on that album really work for me.

Special mention—not because of his solos, but because of how much fun they are—for the single tracks "Hip Chops" and Kirk's cover of "Berkshire Blues." 

The parallel between Kirk and Jaki Byard, mentioned much earlier in this thread, is very apt. Kindred spirits in that they could easily gap generational music bridges without straining. 

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45 minutes ago, Late said:

Some of my favorite Roland Kirk solos aren't on his own records. His work on Mingus's Oh Yeah! made that album one of my very favorites by Mingus. Likewise, Kirk's solos on Roy Haynes' Out of The Afternoon make that record essential. For consistency of solo work from his own records, I'd say that Domino, with all the bonus material, is a strong contender.

 

I'd back all of those! :tup

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Excellent way to fill in the Atlantic gap; I ordered this set immediately!

Besides Inflated Tear, I hardly see these titles available readily and cheaply. 

 

https://www.amazon.com/Original-Album-RAHSAAN-ROLAND-KIRK/dp/B011Q9HH68/ref=sr_1_3?crid=1T368288UHVTA&keywords=roland+kirk&qid=1652535653&sprefix=roland+kirk%2Caps%2C102&sr=8-3

 

It's a link I know, but it is just to the Amazon website. Take it down if need be. 

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In Kathy Sloane's book "Keystone Korner: Portrait of a Jazz Club," there's a moving chapter on Rahsaan.  Rahsaan inspired Todd Barkan to open Keystone Korner.  This is Barkan's oral history:

I met Rahsaan on a bus going to a Columbus Jets game in Columbus,
Ohio. He was on his way to see his girlfriend by himself, just with his
little stick and his roller at the end of the stick and the horn attached to
it. I was about eleven years old. And he became my mentor in the music.
It turned out that he lived very close to where I lived in Columbus; the
area of town that he lived in, near East High School, was very close to
Bexley, Ohio, which is a suburb where my folks lived. My neighborhood
was mostly Methodist and Jewish, and he lived in a black neighborhood
very close by. His dad owned a candy store. Rahsaan went to the Ohio
School for the Blind.
Rahsaan became a mentor to me, and then later on I was able to hire
him at Keystone Korner and make the recording of "Bright Moments,"
which I played keyboards and percussion on. We had a wonderful, life-
long relationship. I toured Australia and Europe with Rahsaan during
the time that Keystone was open. We toured in '74 and '75, right before
he had his stroke. He passed away in 1977.

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12 hours ago, mjzee said:

In Kathy Sloane's book "Keystone Korner: Portrait of a Jazz Club," there's a moving chapter on Rahsaan.  Rahsaan inspired Todd Barkan to open Keystone Korner.  This is Barkan's oral history:

I met Rahsaan on a bus going to a Columbus Jets game in Columbus,
Ohio. He was on his way to see his girlfriend by himself, just with his
little stick and his roller at the end of the stick and the horn attached to
it. I was about eleven years old. And he became my mentor in the music.
It turned out that he lived very close to where I lived in Columbus; the
area of town that he lived in, near East High School, was very close to
Bexley, Ohio, which is a suburb where my folks lived. My neighborhood
was mostly Methodist and Jewish, and he lived in a black neighborhood
very close by. His dad owned a candy store. Rahsaan went to the Ohio
School for the Blind.
Rahsaan became a mentor to me, and then later on I was able to hire
him at Keystone Korner and make the recording of "Bright Moments,"
which I played keyboards and percussion on. We had a wonderful, life-
long relationship. I toured Australia and Europe with Rahsaan during
the time that Keystone was open. We toured in '74 and '75, right before
he had his stroke. He passed away in 1977.

What a great recount!  

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On 5/1/2022 at 7:46 AM, Rabshakeh said:

The above is a great thread, with some excellent recommendations, but I would be interested to know which single record people think most shows Kirk at his best in soloing terms, as opposed to in overall concept / presentation. 

Rab,

If you're wanting to hear some of Rahsaan's most impressive playing as a soloist, I would suggest listening to Brotherman in the Fatherland

RRK plays with startling intensity on that one.

 

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Posted (edited)

Now that's a question.

Not knowing HutchFan's suggestion (and I'm always very happy to take note of those) , would say 'Prepare Thyself To Deal With A Miracle'. Packed with great playing maybe not with a live intensity but certainly with consummate facility.

My absolute favourite RRK is 'I Talk With Spirits' but that disqualifies itself for many as a flute album. Essence of Kirk to my ears.

So that's two single albums :rolleyes:

Edited by mjazzg

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For the solos, the album with Al Hibbler.

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3 hours ago, HutchFan said:

Rab,

If you're wanting to hear some of Rahsaan's most impressive playing as a soloist, I would suggest listening to Brotherman in the Fatherland

RRK plays with startling intensity on that one.

 

I can't recommend one definitive album, but that one would be on my shortlist. There are a whole lot of '70s live recordings, many are far from indispensable, but Brotherman in the Fatherland is really something.

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One solo, really.

 

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After doing a lot of listening, I think that my personal pick might be (I, Eye, Aye) - Live At The Montreux Jazz Festival, Switzerland 1972, from the same year as the Brotherland set.

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12 minutes ago, Rabshakeh said:

After doing a lot of listening, I think that my personal pick might be (I, Eye, Aye) - Live At The Montreux Jazz Festival, Switzerland 1972, from the same year as the Brotherland set.

:tup  Another FANTASTIC set!  :tup 

 

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