Sweet Fire – 1970

Rahsaan Roland Kirk

The unique Rahsaan with his Vibration Society

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Rahsaan Roland Kirk made many impressive recordings during his career but, to fully experience his unique abilities, one had to see him live.

Fortunately an increasing number of filmed concert appearances have been surfacing in recent times.

This clip, from a 1970 concert in France, features Kirk and his Vibration Society, a group comprised of trombonist Dick Griffin, pianist Ron Burton, bassist Henry Pearson, drummer Robert Shy and percussionist Joe Texidor.

“Sweet Fire” starts quietly with the rhythm section.

Rahsaan, playing tenor and manzello together, states the theme along with trombonist Griffin, and then does some wordless vocalizing, blending in perfectly with the trombone.

Kirk takes a tenor solo that begins melodically, gets wilder as it develops, and utilizes circular breathing, preceding a forceful statement from Griffin and a short Burton solo before the closing melody.

The result is an atmospheric performance.

-Scott Yanow


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