Rahsaan Roland Kirk

Rahsaan Roland Kirk (actually Roland T. Kirk, born August 7, 1936 in Columbus, Ohio; † December 5, 1977 in Bloomington, Indiana) was an American saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist of modern jazz.

  • 3.1 Biography (in English)


In 1951, he played as a professional musician, including as a sideman with Charles Mingus, Gil Evans, Quincy Jones and Roy Haynes Quartet still 1962 (Out of the Afternoon ), but worked early 60s mostly with his own groups such as the Society vibration. The nickname Rahsaan he used since the late 60s.

Main instruments of the blind at the age of two years, musician were the tenor saxophone and two historical variants of the saxophone, namely manzello (actually a converted King Saxello ) and Stritch (actually a Buescher -Es- Alto saxophone with straight handle design, equipped with extra flaps for his single-handed game and enlarged horn ). These three, he often played simultaneously. He was known for using circular breathing longer pieces in the tone, that is to play without discontinuation (eg Saxophone Concerto on the album Prepare Thyself to Deal with a Miracle ). He also played flute, electric kalimba, harmonica, English horn, kazoo, nose flute, melodica. In addition, he hummed sometimes in parallel to a second voice while playing a wind instrument.

His music is characterized by the seamless and seemingly obvious connection both traditional and very modern playing styles of jazz as soul jazz, boogie -woogie or free jazz.

Despite a hemiplegia following a stroke in late 1975, he graduated in 1976 again appearances, including with Charles Mingus and Gil Evans, in which he only played with the left hand. A second stroke in 1977 led to his death at the age of 41 years.

One of his better known compositions is Serenade to a Cuckoo, which on their first album This Was was covered by Jethro Tull. With producer Joel Dorn, he played a more than 15 albums.

Discography (excerpt)

  • Triple Threat ( King Records, 1956)
  • Introducing Roland Kirk ( Argo Records, 1960)
  • Kirk 's Work ( Prestige Records, 1961, with Jack McDuff )
  • We Free Kings ( Mercury Records, 1961 - Richard Wyands )
  • Domino ( Mercury Records, 1962)
  • Reeds & Deeds ( Mercury Records, 1963)
  • Kirk in Copenhagen ( Mercury Records, 1963)
  • Roland Kirk Meets the Benny Golson Orchestra ( Mercury Records, 1964)
  • I Talk with the Spirits ( Mercury Records, 1964, Kirk focuses on the flute)
  • Gifts and Messages ( Mercury Records, 1964)
  • Rip, Rig and Panic ( Limelight Records, 1965)
  • Here Comes the Whistleman ( Atlantic Records, 1965, live)
  • Slightly Latin ( Limelight Records, 1965)
  • Now Please Do not You Cry, Beautiful Edith ( Verve Records, 1967)
  • The Inflated Tear ( Atlantic Records, 1967)
  • Left and Right ( Atlantic Records, 1968)
  • Volunteered Slavery ( Atlantic Records, 1968)
  • Rahsaan Rahsaan ( Atlantic Records, 1970)
  • The Art of Rahsaan Roland Kirk ( Atlantic Records, 1970-71 )
  • Natural Black Inventions: Root Strata ( Atlantic Records, 1971)
  • Black walnut ( Atlantic Records, 1971)
  • A Meeting of the Times ( Atlantic Records, 1972 Al Hibbler )
  • Prepare Thyself to Deal With a Miracle ( Atlantic Records, 1973)
  • Bright Moments ( Atlantic Records, 1973 - live Keystone Corner, San Francisco)
  • The Case of the 3 Sided Dream in Audio Color - with Richard Tee, Steve Gadd and Hugh McCracken ( Atlantic Records, 1975)
  • Kirkatron ( Warner, 1975)
  • Other Folks ' Music ( Atlantic Records, 1976)
  • The Return of the 5000 Lb Man ( Warner, 1976)
  • Boogie Woogie String Along for Real ( Warner 1977)
  • Brotherman in the Fatherland ( Hyena Records 2006) - Recorded "live" in Germany, 1972.


  • Rahsaan: The Complete Mercury Recordings Of Roland Kirk (10 CDs)
  • Does Your House Have Lions: The Rahsaan Roland Kirk Anthology
  • Simmer, Reduce, Garnish & Serve - compilation of his last three albums