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Natural Black Inventions: Root Strata

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Editors’ Notes

In the hands of a different instrumentalist Natural Black Inventions: Root Strata might be called a collection of musical sketches, but there is far too much breadth and muscle in Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s playing for anything he does to ever qualify as a “sketch.” This collection of 13 short pieces offers a variety of styles and settings, although its theme is simplicity. The songs are short, and usually feature Kirk’s horn — or combination of horns — alone with a minimal rhythmic backing. At a time when many of Kirk’s jazz peers were embracing the seemingly limitless potential of synthesizer technology, Kirk proves that he could make just as many sounds utilizing only his arsenal of aerophones. The buzzing, multi-phonic lines of “Breath-A-Thon,” “Raped Voices” and “Island Cry” are at once surreal and deeply earthy. As a whole, the album is a brilliant example of Kirk’s ability to merge seemingly disparate ideas: ominousness and amusement; urban and rural; the strikingly modern and the ancient. In some ways Natural Black is Kirk’s most avant-garde album, but it is also one of his most fun.


Born: 07 August 1935 in Columbus, OH

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s

Arguably the most exciting saxophone soloist in jazz history, Kirk was a post-modernist before that term even existed. Kirk played the continuum of jazz tradition as an instrument unto itself; he felt little compunction about mixing and matching elements from the music's history, and his concoctions usually seemed natural, if not inevitable. When discussing Kirk, a great deal of attention is always paid to his eccentricities — playing several horns at once, making his own instruments, clowning...
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Natural Black Inventions: Root Strata, Rahsaan Roland Kirk
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  • £8.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Hard Bop, Classical, Avant-Garde
  • Released: 1971

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