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What if…..?

I’ve been listening to the music of the late Rahsaan Roland Kirk a lot lately. Sometimes if I’m up late, I like to scour the YouTube and watch a few videos of his performances. I know, I know, you’re going to say, hey Eugene, you play old time clawhammer banjo, what the heck are you doing listening to jazz cats like Kirk for? Hey, I love all kinds of folk music, that’s what I say. And it’s true – this morning I practiced fiddle for quite a while, then had a socially distanced jam in the front yard playing banjo along with my Jack Antler buddy Ted’s guitar, and then tonight I’m watching jazz videos. Go figure.

I was first introduced to Kirk’s music a number of years ago by my friend Vox. Every time I hear him play, it stops me in my tracks. Sometimes Kirk has 3 saxes going at once as well as various flutes and nose flutes and whistles and who knows what else going on in the same tune. Kirk was one of those performers who was such an original and really such a master, you think, hey wait a minute, humans can’t do this.

I’m telling you all this because tonight I stumbled across a short doc about Rahsaan Roland Kirk, called Let me Tell you Abour Rahsaan Roland Kirk by a guy named Dr. Marigaux (also a musician….I’ll check out his material tomorrow). It’s about 25 minutes long and it’s a great introduction to Kirk’s music – super-informative and entertaining too. Enjoy….


  1. That was righteous! Kirk was an amazing musician, talent, and is indeed a treasure! He was also an activist as well. I’ve written a small article on his activism in the form of shutting down live shows to showcase African American music. If you are so inclined, you can peruse the article and tell me what you think.

  2. vox kadavergehorsamkeit

    Thanks for sharing the video. Kirk was a special talent. His final album, Boogie Woogie String Along For Real, is one of the finest albums ever released by anyone ever. What he could no longer do because of the stroke was made up for with the deep emotion he put into the work. It was like he knew his time was almost up. It is still hard to listen to without having my eyes leak.
    Here is one of his wildest pieces, One Nation, that makes me think it is just too good to have been made by a mere mortal.

    • Wow, I bet that was an amazing experience. In the 70s, I was not even aware of him. My earliest live jazz experience was in the early 80s. I was in New York with some friends and we were trying to figure out what to do one evening. I saw in the Voice that Sun Ra and the 21st Century Omniverse Arkestra were doing a tribute to Duke Ellington and Fletcher Henderson in Greenwich Village. All I knew about Ra back then was that he came from Saturn and thankfully that was enough for me to tell my friends we HAD to be there. It was a fabulous treat.

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