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Third Dimension And Beyond

Rahsaan Roland Kirk

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Album Review

Third Dimension & Beyond is a reissue of Roland Kirk's first two albums: Triple Threat recorded for the Bethlehem label in New York on November 9, 1956 and Introducing Roland Kirk, recorded for Argo in Chicago on June 7, 1960. The earlier session, which took place when Kirk was a virtually unknown 20-year-old, contains examples of the "three horns in one mouth" phenomenon (hence the phrase "Triple Threat") and relatively uncommon instances of Kirk being overdubbed (particularly effective during Kirk's heartfelt rendering of "Stormy Weather"). On his debut album Kirk played tenor saxophone, manzello (a straight soprano with an angled bell), and stritch (a straightened out alto); he was accompanied by pianist Jimmy Madison, bassist Carl Pruitt, and drummer Henry "Hank" Duncan (Third Dimension, incidentally, was the title of an original King reissue of the Triple Threat album). Kirk's 1960 collaboration with trumpeter Ira Sullivan is a logical prelude to his soulful Prestige session with Brother Jack McDuff and the very first of his Mercury albums, We Free Kings. The McDuff connection seems particularly relevant when pianist William Ron Burton plays the Hammond organ on "The Call," a deep extended blues groove of nearly nine-minutes' duration. The rest of the 1960 quintet consisted of bassist Don Garrett and drummer Gerald "Sonny" Brown. Note also that this was the first recording session on which Kirk used his famous siren whistle. All of the material on this compilation predates Roland Kirk's use of the name "Rahsaan." He began calling himself by that name after experiencing a dream in 1969 during which he heard many people saying "Rahsaan" repeatedly. This decision to embrace what was given to him in dreams had an important precedent, for it was in a dream that Rahsaan Roland Kirk first heard himself playing three saxophones simultaneously.

Biography

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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