Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Cult of Rahsaan Roland Kirk

This month’s issue of Jazz Times has a cover story on Rahsaan Roland Kirk with the title shown above. ‘Cult’ has such a negative connotation that I’m surprised with that choice. How about ‘Legacy’? But otherwise, it’s a nice article that helps perpetuate his memory. Another thing that helps is more available video of his performances; today’s audiences are much more visually oriented. Fortunately, Jazz Icons has a release planned for September!

I didn’t get a chance to write about it at the time, but the January 2008 issue of Down Beat magazine featured a transcription of Rahsaan’s dual horn improvisation on Moon Ray. (It’s from Roy Haynes’ Out of the Afternoon album.) The transcription was done by yours truly. There was an error in the chord progression that was caught by no less than the author of Yardbird Suite: A Compendium of the Music and Life of Charlie Parker, Lawrence Koch: "The basic progression in the A-section should be: Em C#m7b5 / F#m7b5 B7b9 /. Leaving out the b5 designation completely destroys the minortonality and confuses anyone trying to study the transcription analytically. Further, the bridge prorgession moves basically like this: Bm7b5 / Bm7b5/ E7 / E7 / C#m7b5 / F#7 / B7b9 / B7b9 /. Again, forgetting the b5chords obliterates the minor key." Oops!!

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