7 August 1936, Columbus, Ohio, USA, d. 5 December 1977, Bloomington, Indiana, USA. Originally named Ronald, Kirk changed it to Roland and added Rahsaan after a dream visitation by spirits who told him to. Blinded soon after his birth, Kirk became one of the most prodigious multi-instrumentalists to work in jazz, with a career that spanned R&B, bop and the New Thing jazz style. According to Joe Goldbergs sleeve notes for Kirks Work (1961), Kirk took up trumpet at the age of nine after hearing the bugle boy at a summer camp where his parents acted as counsellors. He played trumpet in the school band, but a doctor advised against the strain trumpet playing imposes on the eyes. At the Ohio State School for the Blind, he took up saxophone and clarinet from 1948. By 1951 he was well known as a player and was leading his own dance band in the locality. Kirks ability to play three instruments...
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