Search - Rahsaan Roland Kirk :: We Free Kings

We Free Kings
Rahsaan Roland Kirk
We Free Kings
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #1

The array of horns that Rahsaan Roland Kirk draped over his neck was for far more than show. He could play multiple saxophones and even nose flutes simultaneously. He sticks to a more predictable fare on this session, thou...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Rahsaan Roland Kirk
Title: We Free Kings
Members Wishing: 6
Total Copies: 0
Label: Polygram Records
Release Date: 10/25/1990
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Styles: Modern Postbebop, Bebop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 042282645524, 0042282645524, 042282645548

The array of horns that Rahsaan Roland Kirk draped over his neck was for far more than show. He could play multiple saxophones and even nose flutes simultaneously. He sticks to a more predictable fare on this session, though don't take that as anything negative. "Sack Full of Soul" is a kicker, with the bridge jump-started by Kirk's tenor, manzello, and stritch. The impact of this recording is gradual, not immediate (as was the case with recordings like Rip, Rig & Panic). Pianist Richard Wyands does a splendid job backing Kirk, keeping things on track whether in the bluesiest of modes as on "You Did It" or in a dancingly melodic groove as on the title track. --Andrew Bartlett

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CD Reviews

Emphasis on music
Tyler Smith | Denver, CO United States | 11/07/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It is certainly true that Roland Kirk (later to become Rahsaan Roland Kirk, of course) was unfairly dismissed for the showmanship that included simultaneously playing multiple horns, producing odd and disconcerting sounds on nose flute, and employing strange instruments (black mystery pipes, for example). The showmanship overshadowed the undeniable musicianship and love of music he possessed. Still, Kirk sometimes contributed to the criticism with albums that included much commentary by him and less than stellar selection of material.On this early effort (1961), Kirk turns in one of his best musical performances on record. (He was always best absorbed in person.) From the opening notes of "Three for the Festival," which became a mainstay in his repertoire, he is in firm, swinging, soulful control. As usual, we have the wonderful illusion of at least three Kirks swinging away, as on the bright "A Sack Full of Soul." We have the breathy, funky flute he mastered, in "You Did it, You Did It." And on the aptly named "The Haunted Melody." we have the surprisingly poigant lyricism of which he was often capable.What we also have, though, is a top-notch group behind him, a situation in which he did not always find himself on his later Atlantic albums. Richard Wyands, an underrated talent who seemed to vanish after the '60s, is alert and responsive on piano, and of course there's no drop-off when the always-in-touch Hank Jones takes over; the great Art Davis contributes his always sensitive accompaniment on bass; and Charlie Persip hangs with every angular change Kirk offers, as on the great version of Charlie Parker's "Blues for Alice." Persip's snare work, in particular, shines throughout."We Free Kings" ranks with the great "Rip, Rig, and Panic," among Kirk's Verve releases (originally released on Mercury). Despite what the title cut might suggest, this is not an exercise in free jazz; rather, it is tightly and deeply in the pocket. It is a first-rate release that allows the true talent of this great musician shine through."
Better than Jethro Tull
ADP | Washington, DC USA | 10/30/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Most of us rock-music fans found out about Roland Kirk via Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, who got his trademark flute-attack from Kirk records. While I still enjoy Tull, Kirk was the original flute-monster, aptly described in the review above as a "one-man reed section." While this album isn't his most entertaining and eccentric, in my opinion--that honor goes to "The Case of the Three-Sided Dream in Audio Color," one of his last LP's--its bebop-influenced bluesy jazz stands up better against "Dream's" self-consciousness. The version of "We Three Kings" that provided the title is perhaps the best track, but Kirk's twelve-bar workouts "Three for the Festival" and "Sack Full of Soul" remain in the mind almost as long. Kirk acknowledged his influences with a cover of "Blues for Alice," but then he stunned--and still stuns--with the succinct "You Did It, You Did It," a short piece consisting almost entirely of the flute attack which is not quite like anything heard before, and perhaps since. Buy this!"
Joerg Colberg | Northampton, MA USA | 06/16/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It is sometimes forgotten that Roland Kirk was a jazz musician in the first place and not an entertainer who'd amuse the masses with playing, say, three saxophones at the same time. This album is a good reminder of what a fanatastic musician Roland Kirk really was. I personally think it is *MUCH* better than any of the stuff he released in the Seventies. But maybe I am a little bit too conservative - who knows? The album is a classic jazz album which features plenty of good compositions by Roland Kirk ("Three For The Festival" is amongst them) plus a cover of a song by Charlie Parker. He uses the different types of saxophones for different songs, and it is very nice to hear the differences between their sounds. Any fan of jazz from the early Sixties will love this album."