This week’s Sunday Music post is late indeed, as it’s well into Monday afternoon out here in Portland, Oregon. But while today’s post is both late & shorter than I'd have liked, I didn’t want to miss a week, & am really excited about this month’s featured artist.
In fact, in June I’ll be featuring music from one of my all-time favorite musicians, an artist I was privileged to see perform live twice way back when—Rahsaan Roland Kirk.
If you love jazz, if you love great music, if you love singular & powerful expressions of the artistic spirit, then Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s music is for you. Kirk played with passion, virtuosity, & almost unreal inventiveness. A master on reed instruments, a talented composer, & indeed, a visionary in his ability to connect popular music of his day with the most up-to-date currents in jazz (as for instance on his Motown-inspired 1971 album Blacknuss), Kirk brought a complex musical vision to bear throughout his work.
Of course Kirk was known for his ability to play multiple reed instruments at once, as well as his incredible ability to use circular breathing in his playing. But it’s important to stress that these techniques went far beyond showmanship, & were integral to the symphonic imagination found in his playing & composition.
A truly great artist. As was the case with Arvo Pärt, such a short series is only going to give the most bare bones introduction to his music, but if you aren’t familiar with Kirk, I do hope these posts inspire you to seek out more of his music. & if you already know his work, I know you’re going to enjoy them & be moved by them!
Here Kirk plays his composition “The Inflated Tear” live around the time the piece was written.
Note: No post tomorrow (Tuesday 6/6/17) to give this post a full day plus to “headline” the blog.
Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
Roland Kirk, "Rahsan Roland Kirk" Live im Großen Sedesaal des NDR Hamburg, 1972. Photo by Heinrich Klaffs [also here], who makes this image available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Genericlicense.