Roland Kirk Live in London

COMPOSERS: Kirk,Rollins
LABELS: Harkit
PERFORMER: Roland Kirk


By contrast, a 1964 session with Roland Kirk (years before he became Rahsaan Roland Kirk) is pure showmanship in the best sense of the word, and not just for his (in)famous three-horns-at-once technique.

Listen to Kirk on tenor, tearing up Rollins’s ‘Oleo’ way past the legal speed limit, and proudly flaunting his circular breathing technique at both ends of the tempo spectrum. Listen also to Kirk’s playful singing through his flute in unison and hear where Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson got the idea.


The recording also preserves Kirk bantering with the audience, and getting the better of a heckler. Both the Rollins and Kirk tapes suffer from dicey, poorly balanced sound (you can barely hear pianist Stan Tracey’s excellent house rhythm section), but that won’t concern seasoned jazz fans.