To this day, the late Rahsaan Roland Kirk remains one of the most electrifying saxophonists of all time. A mix of genius and pure imagination, Kirk saw no boundaries to his instruments; a belief that was reflected on his studio work. Originally released in 1977 by Warner Bros., Kirkatron
was comprised of originally unreleased studio work and contains 12 brilliant tracks.
Boogie-Woogie String Along For Real was originally released in 1978 by Warner Bros. and is widely considered to be Kirk's greatest studio achievement. Furthermore, Kirk has the rare distinction of having his last album ever be his finest. This album is highlighted by the title track and "Make Me A Pallet on the Floor."
2 LPs on 1 CD: KIRKATRON (1977)/BOOGIE WOOGIE STRING ALONG FOR REAL (1978).
Personnel: Rahsaan Roland Kirk (flute, harmonica, clarinet, manzello, tenor saxophone, lyricon, kalimba); Cornell Dupree, Tiny Grimes, Billy Butler (guitar); Percy Heath, Kermit Moore (cello); Steve Turre (trombone); Howard Johnson (tuba); Sammy Price (piano); William S. Fischer (electric piano, synthesizer); Trudy Pitts (organ); Hilton Ruiz, Richard Tee (keyboards); Phil Bowler, Arvell Shaw, Milton Suggs , Mattathias Pearson (bass instrument); Sonny Brown, Walter Perkins (drums); Tony Waters (percussion).
This issue combines two late-period Rahsaan Roland Kirk albums: Kirkatron, begun shortly before the major stroke that debilitated him and shortened his life, and Boogie-Woogie String Along for Real, his first attempt at a comeback and his final recording. Kirkatron hosts three tunes recorded for it, and nine more that were outtakes from the preceding 5000 Lb. Man sessions, and a few from the Live at the Montreux Jazz Festival concert. As such it does contain a number of tunes that define the man at the height of his powers including a cover of Leon Russell's "This Masquerade," the live "Serenade to a Cuckoo," and a fine "Bright Moments." His bandmates on the date include a young Hilton Ruiz on piano and Steve Turre. Boogie-Woogie String Along for Real does stand in contrast to Kirkatron. The intensity and intention is there, but it's more subtle, informed no doubt by the fact that Kirk had taught himself to play with only his left hand because his right had been rendered unusable by the accident. He also employed a full string section, taking his music into a new direction. But there are beautiful and deeply soulful moments here, as well, including "Summertime," the wonderfully up "Dorthaan's Walk," the deep blues of "Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor," and the barrelhouse title track which opens the set. ~ Thom Jurek