Rahsaan Roland Kirk

The One Man Twins

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As remarkable as Rahsaan Roland Kirk was on record, one had to see him live to really get the full effect. How did he ever blow into three saxophones at once, get sounds out of both a flute and a nose recorder at the same time, and expertly juggle instruments on stage despite being blind? Very little footage was taken of the phenomenal performer, making this video (which partly answers all of the above questions) quite essential. Filmed on June 24, 1972, at the Montreux Jazz Festival, Kirk is joined by pianist Ron Burton, bassist Henry Pearson, drummer Robert Shy, and percussionist Joe "Habao" Texidor, and is seen very much in his element. On the opening "Improvisation," he harmonizes on two horns while backed only by Texidor's tambourine. "Balm in Gilead" (which is reminiscent of "Black and Tan Fantasy") has him alternating his New Orleans clarinet with some rollicking tenor. "Seasons" is a very expressive flute feature. Kirk combines "Misty" and "I Want to Talk About You" on his tenor (the cadenza is remarkable). "Blue Rol No. 2" features Rahsaan playing recorder with his nose while blowing through his mouth simultaneously on flute; isn't that supposed to be impossible? After concluding "Blue Rol No. 2" with some three-horn chording (watching Rahsaan finger his instruments with just two hands is rather fascinating), Kirk drives the audience to a frenzy on the lengthy "Volunteered Slavery," and at one point goes out into the audience while playing. The tape concludes with brief versions of "Serenade to a Cuckoo" and "Never Can Say Goodbye." The One Man Twins has the video versions of some of the performances released for the first time on the CD I, Eye, Aye, but also contains some previously unreleased material. Well worth acquiring.