Personnel: Rahsaan Roland Kirk (whistling, flute, stritch, manzello, tenor saxophone, siren); Rahsaan Roland Kirk; Big Skol, Sonny Boy Williamson II (harmonica); Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen, Don Moore (bass guitar); Tete Montoliu (piano); J.C. Moses (drums).
Liner Note Author: Edith Kirk.
Recording information: The Club Montmartre, Copenhagen, Denmark (10/1963).
Frontrunner for the "Most Joyously Fun Jazz Musician of All Time" award, multi-instrumentalist and sonic inventor extraordinaire Roland Kirk is a universe of music unto himself. A listen to 1964's KIRK IN COPENHAGEN, the artist's first live album, should substantiate such claims. With an international band that includes Spanish pianist Tete Montoliu, Danish bassist Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen, and Americans Don Moor (bass) and J.C. Moses (drums), Kirk wreaks beautiful, subversive havoc on the bop, swing, and free-jazz idioms without once skipping an iota of technical precision.
That Kirk plays tenor, flute, manzello, strich, siren, and nose flute on Ellington's "Mood Indigo," and makes the chestnut sound as lovely and surprising as ever, should be testament enough to his skills. But Kirk's originals shine as well. "Narrow Bolero," an angular blues inspired by Ravel's Bolero, gives way to the "Mingus-Griff Song," a swinging tribute to friends Charles Mingus and Johnny Griffin. But the highlight is "The Monkey Thing," a crazed blues circus of a tune that features flute and vocal interpolations by Kirk and smoking harmonica lines from a musician credited as "Big Skol" (who is, in fact, blues legend Sonny Boy Williamson). A more rollicking good time is hard to come by.