Rahsaan Roland Kirk / Roland Kirk

Talkin' Verve: Roots of Acid Jazz

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This single-disc compilation is the Rahsaan Roland Kirk entry in the Talkin' Verve: Roots of Acid Jazz series. Kirk's inclusion into any discussion of acid jazz is nothing short of mandatory, as his recordings have been used for sampling, scratching, and countless other digital dissections since the art form began. Kirk's renegade polyphonic approach and unique techniques -- which often included performing on several reed instruments including the tenor, flute, clarinet, manzello, and stritch simultaneously -- typify the D.I.Y. attitude central to the acid jazz movement. The liberation which flows throughout tracks such as "Black Diamond" and "Untitled Blues" reinvents bop and free jazz for an audience seeking something ultimately musical, rather than relying on the obvious novelty many associate with Kirk. However, there is room for plenty of the sonic brilliance that is uniquely Rahsaan. The spoken-word introduction and swinging narration during "Hip Chops" is one. Another is the chooglin' rhythms and virtually indescribable vocal harmonics that define "Dyna-Soar." The double-time shuffle of "Jive Elephant" -- an exceptional reworking of Henry Mancini's "Baby Elephant Walk" -- is practically comical given its frenetic pace. Straight-ahead bop fans should also be pleased with the inclusion of "Black Diamond," "Get in the Basement," and "Narrow Bolero" -- the latter originating from Kirk's eternally relevant Kirk in Copenhagen disc. Conspicuously absent are some of Kirk's most memorable sides from this era: "Soul Bossa Nova," "We Free Kings," and "I Talk With the Spirits." However, the sheer magnitude of Kirk's works allows for some discrepancy. Talkin' Verve: Roots of Acid Jazz is a great introduction to the uncanny and ironically picturesque music of Rahsaan Roland Kirk.

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