I Talk with the Spirits by Roland Kirk on Apple Music

10 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Roland Kirk was most closely associated with the arsenal of saxophones that he would blow simultaneously onstage. However, listening to Kirk’s early work for Mercury one gets the sense that the flute was his true love. Maybe it was the challenge of it, or maybe it was the instrument’s hidden versatility — specifically, the fact that Kirk could literally speak through the flute in a way that wasn’t possible with a saxophone. The 1964 all-flute album I Talk with the Spirits is one of the musician’s finest works. Kirk brings an imagination to the instrument that would have been all but inconceivable to flautists of an earlier generation. He uses it for everything from blues (“The Business Ain’t Nothin’ but the Blues”) to waltzes (“Trees”) to simmering ballads (“My Ship”), each time bringing out a different tonal color. Best of all are the ghostly, sometimes abstract mood pieces — “Fugue’n and Alludin’,” “I Talk with the Spirits,” and “Ruined Castles,” which borrow ideas from Medieval music and Japanese traditions. Jethro Tull would later cover “Serenade to a Cuckoo,” thereby completing the break with tradition that Kirk ignited on I Talk with the Spirits.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Roland Kirk was most closely associated with the arsenal of saxophones that he would blow simultaneously onstage. However, listening to Kirk’s early work for Mercury one gets the sense that the flute was his true love. Maybe it was the challenge of it, or maybe it was the instrument’s hidden versatility — specifically, the fact that Kirk could literally speak through the flute in a way that wasn’t possible with a saxophone. The 1964 all-flute album I Talk with the Spirits is one of the musician’s finest works. Kirk brings an imagination to the instrument that would have been all but inconceivable to flautists of an earlier generation. He uses it for everything from blues (“The Business Ain’t Nothin’ but the Blues”) to waltzes (“Trees”) to simmering ballads (“My Ship”), each time bringing out a different tonal color. Best of all are the ghostly, sometimes abstract mood pieces — “Fugue’n and Alludin’,” “I Talk with the Spirits,” and “Ruined Castles,” which borrow ideas from Medieval music and Japanese traditions. Jethro Tull would later cover “Serenade to a Cuckoo,” thereby completing the break with tradition that Kirk ignited on I Talk with the Spirits.

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4:37
4:21
6:18
0:41
4:59
3:53
1:16
4:48
5:00

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