Sunday, June 27, 2010

Rahsaan Roland Kirk, 1975

(Photo by Del de la Haye, taken from this SITE).

Another memorable concert for me was Rahsaan Roland Kirk. I’d learned about him from my sister, and I’d purchased the album “Volunteer Slavery,” which I loved. I finally saw him at Keystone Korner in San Fransisco’s North Beach neighborhood. Keystone Korner was great because it allowed underage people to enter. I was under 21. My friend and I drove in from San Francisco and spent the afternoon in the neighborhood waiting so that we could get good seats. We wound up right beneath the stage.

This was sometime in the early to mid 1970s. Kirk had suffered a stroke. For anyone who doesn’t know, Roland Kirk exercised circular breathing and could play three saxophones at a time for as long a duration as the music required. The stroke left him with little or no use of one arm and hand, but since he’d formerly played three instruments at a time, losing one arm wasn’t enough of a handicap to stop the music.

Kirk came out draped in juju and bells, rattles and God knows what, a walking sculpture with a horn. I think I recall that the horn was modified in some way so that the second hand wasn’t required to do much movement. If I lack detail, it was a long time ago and I was mesmerized by the sound and the vision. I remember that he played “Volunteer Slavery,” though, and that he filled the sound with the rattles and bells and buzzing from his amazing musical suit. And now and again a whistle from his ring.

For blues lovers, here he is with Buddy Guy.  Dang!!!!
Here he is in 1975 with McCoy Tyner and Stanley Clarke:

And here's a website;

No comments:

Post a Comment