Rahsaan Roland Kirk

Haunted Melodies

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Several different jazz saxophonists team up to present the music of Rahsaan Roland Kirk in a way it has never been done before -- faithfully. The frontmen include Joe Lovano, Michael Marcus, Donald Harrison, James Spaulding, John Stubblefield, Craig Handy, Justin and Scott Robinson, Eric Alexander, Jed Levy, and Jimmy Greene. Xavier Davis is all over this date, playing piano on ten of the 13 tracks. Bassist Dwayne Burno and drummer Nasheet Waits comprise the rhythm section, while appearances are made by pianists Hilton Ruiz and Jaki Byard, one-time Kirk running mates. The music is immaculately selected and played in Kirk's vibrato-laden, blues-drenched style. Marcus picks up stritch and manzello for the "The Haunted Melody," and Harrison's alto and Handy's tenor coalesce beautifully during "Gifts and Messages." It takes no less than five saxophonists to match Kirk's sonic gestures on the stark, dramatic "Inflated Tear," with Levy leading on tenor followed by Greene, Justin Robinson's alto, Scott's baritone, and Marcus on stritch. Lovano shines on two cuts, his vibrant blues overtones punctuating "No Tonic Prez" and "Now Please Don't You Cry, Beautiful Edith." Stubblefield and Spaulding star on the hip, urgent "Pedal Up" and "Blue Rol." Byard does an elegant solo version of "Bright Moments," and Justin Robinson's alto highlights "April Morning." This CD easily holds one's interest, and richly reminds us of the position that Kirk held as the most creative instrumentalist the world has ever known. Recommended.

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