An original based on “Impressions”

Rahsaan Roland Kirk

Rahsaan makes the impossible look effortless

Throughout his career, Rahsaan Roland Kirk could do things on his reed instruments that others never thought of trying, including taking 20-minute solos on one breath (through circular breathing), playing three horns at once, and mastering every era of jazz.

From the legendary 1975 Downbeat Awards telecast, Kirk (with backing by pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Stanley Clarke and an unidentified drummer) performs a driving piece that is a relative of John Coltrane’s “Impressions.”

Sticking with two horns, Kirk forms a sax section, takes a hot tenor solo, gives Tyner a chorus, and takes the piece out playing unaccompanied on his horns.

This valuable film clip gives one a taste of Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s musical magic.

-Scott Yanow