Rahsaan Roland Kirk

Rahsaan Roland Kirk - force of nature.

Rahsaan Roland Kirk Quartet – Live In Helsinki – 1964 – Past Daily Downbeat

Rahsaan Roland Kirk
Rahsaan Roland Kirk – force of nature.

– Rahsaan Roland Kirk Quartet – June 10, 1964 – YLE Radio, Helsinki – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

The inimitable Rahsaan Roland Kirk and his Quartet this weekend. Recorded at Messuhalli in Helsinki Finland on June 10, 1964.

He’s joined by Tete Montoliu on piano, Tommy Potter on bass and Kenny Clarke on drums. I know a lot of people thought the multiple reeds being played simultaneously was a gimmick and that stories of his unlimited use of breath were legendary, but Rahsaan Roland Kirk had this amazing vision (in the grand scheme of things, not actual since he was blind), a gift of improvisation and capacity to paint a tonal picture quite unique and unlike many of his contemporaries. That his musical pyrotechnics were a thing to witness belies the fact that he was able to convey a world of sound that was intricate while it made complete sense – there was logic in the madness and transposing two numbers into one really was a stroke of genius – although the showmanship part was astonishing on its own, what emerged sonically and musically was brilliance.

Admittedly, some audiences (and critics) were baffled by Rahsaan Roland Kirk, saying his technique and his improvisations were baffling and overly complex. But the vast majority felt otherwise, and his style and example became huge influences to a number of artists, many who weren’t part of the Jazz world. Safe to say the music of Rahsaan Roland Kirk has stretched across the musical spectrum and created a greater awareness as well as audience to what Kirk referred to as “Black Classical Music”.

This gig has been around for a while and has been available in various formats and fans of Rahsaan Roland Kirk probably have this in every format available. It’s great. Sounds great and can always benefit from repeat playings, not to mention being available to turn people on who may not otherwise be aware.

Further evidence you need to explore – and soak up like vitamins. It only makes life better.

Now jump in.

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1 thought on “Rahsaan Roland Kirk Quartet – Live In Helsinki – 1964 – Past Daily Downbeat

  1. I saw Kirk on his final “Medical Expenses Tour”.
    He’d suffered a major stroke that would have debilitated anyone else.
    But Kirk had trained for this moment his whole life.
    To play two horns at once, they had to be re-keyed to be played with one hand, a left sax and a right sax.
    His stroke paralyzed one side, so he just played the other sax with his good hand.
    I’d seen him a few years before at the Charles Mingus “Battle of the Saxophones” at Carnegie Hall.
    He still played very well, enough to lead the band.

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