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Duets 2: Rashaan Roland Kirk

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Album Review

Spanish percussionist Ramon Lopez's fifth album for Leo (and the fourth under his own name) pays homage to a saxophonist often excluded from the list of 1960s titans, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, with a set of nine duets (eight Kirk covers and one original), and intriguingly, there's not a saxophonist in sight. Instead, Theirry Madiot converts his trombone into a plumber's nightmare, Emmanuel Bex gets sleazy on the Hammond organ, Chim Nwobueze waxes lyrical on the musical saw, Basque vocalist Benat Achiary burns with passion, and Noel Akchote lays down some haunted guitar. The great and all-too-often overlooked trumpeter Harry Beckett is magnificent on "Rip, Rig and Panic"; Joëlle Léandre provides some typically extroverted bass and vocals, perfectly in keeping with the spirit of the original "Inflated Tear"; and the usually austere inside piano of Berlin's Andrea Neumann (whose name is unfortunately spelled wrong in the booklet) is positively funky on "Slippery, Hippery, Flippery." Lopez, who is as well versed in Indian and African percussion (witness the final "Afroblues to Rahsaan" with Majid Bekkos) as he is in free jazz, is in superb form throughout, and this fine disc is as eclectic and enthusiastic as the groundbreaking Kirk albums that inspired it. Kirk turned in some deeply moving as well as gloriously wacky cover versions of other people's material during his career, and, if the hereafter exists, he's probably already digging his copy of Duets 2 Rahsaan Roland Kirk.

Duets 2: Rashaan Roland Kirk, Ramon Lopez
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