Three For The Festival and Volunteered Slavery

Rahsaan Roland Kirk

The remarkable Rahsaan Roland Kirk at the peak of his powers

Rahsaan Roland Kirk (1935-77) could do many things that no other saxophonist could, certainly not on his level.

This ten-minute excerpt from Kirk’s Nov. 9, 1973 concert in Bologna, Italy features Rahsaan leading a quintet with baritonist Hamiet Bluiett, displaying his versatility and uniqueness.

After Bluiett brings in the melody of the uptempo minor-toned blues “Three For The Festival,” Kirk adds his horn section, playing tenor, stritch and manzello at the same time; check out the harmonies that he creates.

Kirk next plays some virtuosic flute, hums along, uses a bit of circular breathing, and then plays flute and recorder at the same time.

A bit more of the Rahsaan horn section and then he launches into “Volunteered Slavery” on tenor before leading the band in a group vocal filled with social commentary.

The piece becomes a funky groove with an old-time feeling, Rahsaan squotes a section from “Hey Jude,” and finishes off by playing some passionate tenor over the one-chord vamp.

Could anyone else ever do all of this?

Personnel:

Rahsaan Roland Kirk, tenor, stritch, manzello, flute, recorder, whistles, vocal
Hamiet Bluiett, baritone sax
Donald Smith, piano
Pete Pearson, bass
John Goldsmith, drums

– Scott Yanow