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We Free Kings

Rahsaan Roland Kirk

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iTunes Editors’ Notes

Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s first album for Mercury opened one of the most glorious chapters in the reedman’s celebrated career. The cover features a lush color photo of Kirk with multiple horns draped around his neck, and his unison playing is displayed right out the gate on “Three For the Festival.” The song is a tour-de-force, as Kirk blows the chorus on multiple horns and takes a terrific solo turn on flute. The full-bodied flute playing highlights Kirk’s essence: breath is the life-force of all humans, and Kirk used it to its fullest potential. His solos on “Blues For Alice” and “A Sack Full of Soul” are agile and gutsy, two qualities that are rarely married in one saxophonist. More crucially, Kirk has a way of pushing his soul through the horn and into the consciousness of the listener. Most horn players might rattle the leaves — Kirk shakes the whole tree. His dual sense of playfulness and passion comes alive on the title track, a reworking of the 19th century Christmas carol — a bold reinvention undoubtedly inspired by John Coltrane’s “My Favorite Things,” released just a few months before the recording of this album. 

Customer Reviews

We Free Kings

Rahsaan Roland Kirk was a force of nature and this cd offeers a gateway into his aural world. I heard him twice at the now defunct "Sluggs" night spot in the depths of the Lower East Side and some of that incredible energy, drive and sheer inventiveness is evident in this nearly flawless early release. He could simultaneously play "Sophisticated Lady" on one horn and "Dvorak's New World Symphony" on his other sax -- and it wasn't an act. And he blows one funky, down home tenor as well!

Excellent listen

I heard this artist for the first time on this CD and WOW!!! Very talented. If you like Jazz this is must CD. Also read about the man and he sound incredible. I am sorry I never saw him live and those that did you are blessed.

Biography

Born: August 7, 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...
Full Bio