Challenging, yet listenable
Thirty years ago Rahsaan Roland Kirk was one of the young lions of jazz, constantly pushing the boundaries, testing the limits. Not only was he stylistically an innovator, but Kirk remains best known even today as the man who could play three reed instruments simultaneously.
It was no gimmick; Kirk was very serious about playing more than one instrument at a time and, in his hands, it worked. His honking, blowing intro on "The Inflated Tear" is as melodically recognizable as any passage in jazz.
And if his music was often experimental, in the mold of Charles Mingus (for whom he once played, and who is featured on several cuts on this new multi-disc compilation), Thelonius Monk or Sun Ra, it is, as were the above, very listenable.
The great passion that drove his playing also focused it, giving him a body of work that remains accessible while also challenging the listener.
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