So much is to be said about Rahsaan Roland Kirk, his immensely creativity, his unique techniques, his ability as a multi-instrumentalist, his amassing solo improvisations, and his ability to perform within a wide range of Jazz styles. I urge everyone interested in his talents to search more, there is so much more to Kirk, than what I can cover here.
Roland Kirk with McCoy Tyner and Stanley Clarke
Kirk was able to play several instruments it the same time, and developed a breathing technique making him able to play notes for a long period of time without pause.
Kirk played a wide range of saxophones often modified, clarinets, flutes, harmonica, English horn, recorders and trumpets. He additionally used many non-musical devices and tape-manipulated electronics sounds, long before they became common practice.
Serenade To A Cuckoo (covered by Jethro Tull, on This Was 1968)
The extravaganza of his stage appearance, although extremely talented may have come in the way of his recognition as a true master of Jazz, due to it being too spectacular for the serious jazz critics and audience at the time, but I don’t mind his inventive approach to music, or his political idea’s, I think he sounds just great and that all that matters to me.
Mingus said “This man is what jazz is all about”, Kirk died in 1977 after a stroke, 42 years old.