Sunday, November 27, 2022

Roland Kirk - Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Complete Mercury Recordings [1990] (11 x CDs)




Roland Kirk - Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Complete Mercury Recordings [1990] (11 x CDs)

It's hard to fathom today, but Roland Kirk was considered a gimmick for much of his early career. For sure, the man was a cagey character, which certainly didn't help his reputation. People were bemused by the way he played multiple horns simultaneously, including some horns that he invented himself. His style wasn't easy to pin down, either so fluent was he in every jazz idiom. These factors help explain why folks were confused... but what exactly were they listening to? Even without his idiosyncrasies, Kirk would have been a memorable, innovative, inspiring tenor saxophonist, full of fire, tenderness, wit, and soul. And there was so much more: he remains one of the most compelling, hard-swinging, blues-drenched flute players in jazz history; his alto like stretch and his soprano-like manzello were capable of great beauty on his beloved ballads; his use of multiple horns included complex, luminous arrangements. In short, Kirk was master of all trades, and this 11-CD set captures him in a wide variety of settings recorded for Mercury from 1961 through 1965.

There are numerous quartet sessions with top-level pianists: Hank Jones, Richard Wyands, Wynton Kelly, Andrew Hill, Harold Mabern, and Jaki Byard, who, along with bassist Richard Davis and drummer Elvin Jones, helped craft Kirk's masterpiece, Rip Rig and Panic. There are two discs' worth of live material from a Copenhagen club date featuring Tete Montoliu and special guest Sonny Boy Williamson (!), plus a handful of oddities ranging from full orchestras to an obscure organ quartet to a tenor summit with Tubby Hayes and James Moody. With all of the oddities and obscurities here, not all of this box is up to snuff. But most of it is outstanding, filled with crafty improvisations, lasting original compositions, and the various eccentricities that made Rahsaan what he was. This set reminds us that, for all his creativity, all his knowledge, all his experimentation, all his passion, Roland Kirk had fun playing music. 

This box set is critically acclaimed and is the one to buy if you are a fan at all of Rahsaan, and any jazz fan should be. This is ALL Kirk's Mercury recordings, including those originally made under others' names such as Quincy Jones. The sound and packaging are excellent. The two discs Live in Copenhagen are worth the price alone. Roland Kirk is without a doubt one of the most unique and gifted talents ever. Not only he can play Coltrane like nobody else (among so many other composers/styles of music), but he is one of the most diverse and visually shocking musicians ever to set foot on this earth. Just imagine, playing 2-3 reeds at the same time fluently!?!? Its beyond genius!?!? (Amazon)


Pt.1     Pt.2     Pt.3     Pt.4 


Track list


01 Roland Kirk Blues For Alice (Alt Tk) 5:14

02 Roland Kirk Blues For Alice 4:09

03 Roland Kirk My Delight 4:30

04 Roland Kirk The Haunted Melody 3:40

05 Roland Kirk A Sack Full Of Soul 4:40

06 Roland Kirk We Free Kings 4:48

07 Roland Kirk Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year 4:08

08 Roland Kirk Moon Song 4:23

09 Roland Kirk Some Kind Of Love 6:12

10 Roland Kirk Three For The Festival 3:10

11 Roland Kirk You Did It, You Did It 2:27


01 Roland Kirk Get Out Of Town 4:53

02 Roland Kirk Rolando 3:49

03 Roland Kirk I Believe In You 4:29

04 Roland Kirk Where Monk And Mingus Live/Let's Call This 4:10

05 Roland Kirk Domino 4:07

06 Roland Kirk E.D. 2:25

07 Roland Kirk I Didn't Know What Time It Was 2:19

08 Roland Kirk Someone To Watch Over Me 3:45

09 Roland Kirk Termini's Corner 2:21

10 Roland Kirk When The Sun Comes Out 2:45

11 Roland Kirk Ad Lib 0:27

12 Roland Kirk Stitt's Tune 9:59

13 Roland Kirk I See With My Third 'i' 9:33

14 Roland Kirk Medley, If I Had You, Alone Together, For Heaven's Sake 7:32

15 Roland Kirk Afternoon In Paris 5:52

16 Roland Kirk Lady 'e' 3:20


01 Roland Kirk Meeting On Termini's Corner 3:40

02 Roland Kirk Domino 3:14

03 Roland Kirk Time 3:13

04 Roland Kirk 3-In-1 Without The Oil 2:35

05 Roland Kirk A Stritch In Time 5:06

06 Roland Kirk Lament 3:39

07 Roland Kirk A Breath In The Wind 5:09

08 Roland Kirk Land Of Peace 5:54

09 Roland Kirk Lonesome August Child 4:36

10 Roland Kirk Limbo Boat 3:02

11 Roland Kirk Hay Ro 3:04

12 Roland Kirk Waltz Of The Friends 4:40


01 Roland Kirk This Is Always 4:20

02 Roland Kirk Reeds And Deeds 5:20

03 Roland Kirk Song Of The Countrymen 6:56

04 Roland Kirk Ecclusiastics 4:30

05 Roland Kirk By Myself 4:23

06 Roland Kirk Roland Speaks 3:07

07 Roland Kirk A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square 5:16

08 Roland Kirk Variations On A Theme Of Hindemith 3:30

09 Roland Kirk I've Got Your Number 5:58

10 Roland Kirk Between The Fourth And The Fifth Step 3:43

11 Roland Kirk April Morning 3:45

12 Roland Kirk Get In The Basement 4:06

13 Roland Kirk Abstract Improvisation 1:58


01 Roland Kirk Narrow Bolero 8:25

02 Roland Kirk Narrow Bolero 6:43

03 Roland Kirk My Heart Stood Still 5:50

04 Roland Kirk No Title No. 1 5:56

05 Roland Kirk Mood Indigo 7:14

06 Roland Kirk Cabin In The Sky 7:47

07 Roland Kirk On The Corner Of King And Scott Streets 4:41

08 Roland Kirk Untitled Blues 6:17


01 Roland Kirk The Monkey Thing 5:56

02 Roland Kirk Will You Still Be Mine 8:40

03 Roland Kirk One For My Baby 3:54

04 Roland Kirk We'll Be Together Again 5:21

05 Roland Kirk Mingus-Griff Song 8:38

06 Roland Kirk Mood Indigo 6:52

07 Roland Kirk Medley, Rock-A-Bye Baby, Nearness Of You, No Title No. 3 12:35

08 Roland Kirk Half A Triple 4:54


01 Roland Kirk Japan 3:05

02 Roland Kirk Japan 3:10

03 Roland Kirk Japan 3:08

04 Roland Kirk Berkshire Blue 2:48

05 Roland Kirk Dirty Money Blues 3:44

06 Roland Kirk Dirty Money Blues 3:45

07 Roland Kirk Ad Lib (Hip Chops) 3:09

08 Roland Kirk The Things I Love 3:15

09 Roland Kirk Petite Fleur 3:13

10 Roland Kirk March On, Swan Lake 4:00

11 Roland Kirk Tears Sent By You 6:01

12 Roland Kirk My Heart At Thy Sweet Voice 3:24

13 Roland Kirk Gifts And Messages 4:08

14 Roland Kirk Hip Chops 3:35

15 Roland Kirk Blues For C & T 3:08

16 Roland Kirk Where Does The Blame Lie 2:52

17 Roland Kirk Vertigo Ro 4:08

18 Roland Kirk Jive Elephant 2:56


01 Roland Kirk I Talk With The Spirits 3:57

02 Roland Kirk Serenade To A Cuckoo 4:35

03 Roland Kirk Medley, We'll Be Together Again, People From Funny Girl 4:42

04 Roland Kirk Ruined Castles 1:19

05 Roland Kirk Trees 6:23

06 Roland Kirk Fugue'n And Alludin' 0:44

07 Roland Kirk Django 4:51

08 Roland Kirk My Ship 5:06

09 Roland Kirk A Quote From Clifford Brown 4:26

10 Roland Kirk The Business Ain't Nothin' But The Blues 5:02


01 Roland Kirk No Tonic Press 4:35

02 Roland Kirk From Bechet, Fats And Byas 6:32

03 Roland Kirk Slippery, Hippery, Flippery 4:58

04 Roland Kirk Black Diamond 5:24

05 Roland Kirk Rip, Rig And Panic 7:01

06 Roland Kirk Once In A While 4:02

07 Roland Kirk Mystical Dream 2:40

08 Roland Kirk Walk On By 2:35

09 Roland Kirk Juarez 5:28

10 Roland Kirk Shakey Money 2:40

11 Roland Kirk Ebrauqs 8:27

12 Roland Kirk Raouf 3:10

13 Roland Kirk Nothing But The Truth 3:39

14 Roland Kirk Safari 4:33

15 Roland Kirk It's All In The Game 5:24

16 Roland Kirk And I Love Her 3:03


01 Roland Kirk A Taste Of Honey 2:37

02 Roland Kirk Dyna-Soar 2:38

03 Roland Kirk Soul Bossa Nova 2:49

04 Roland Kirk Comin' Home Baby 2:47

05 Roland Kirk Days Of Wine And Roses 2:48

06 Roland Kirk Moon River 2:37

07 Roland Kirk Dreamsville 3:53

08 Roland Kirk (I Love You) And Don't You Forget It 2:56

09 Roland Kirk Charade 3:18

10 Roland Kirk Peter Gunn 3:01

11 Roland Kirk I Had A Ball 5:06

12 Roland Kirk Addie's At It Again 5:05


01 Ronald Kirk A Stritch In Time 7:05




  1. Thanks Butterboy for our regular Sunday jazz.

    1. Hi Bob Mac.
      I like Sunday Jazz too.
      Thank you for always commenting.

  2. Thanks Butterboy! I'm starting to base my week around these Sunday Jazz posts!