Search - Rahsaan Roland Kirk :: I Talk With the Spirits

I Talk With the Spirits
Rahsaan Roland Kirk
I Talk With the Spirits
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #1

Recorded in 1964, I Talk with the Spirits is one of Roland Kirk's most revered, yet scarce, concept albums. It was the first and only time that the innovative multi-instrumentalist would focus entirely on flutes. The resul...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Rahsaan Roland Kirk
Title: I Talk With the Spirits
Members Wishing: 3
Total Copies: 0
Label: Polygram Records
Release Date: 9/29/1998
Album Type: Original recording remastered
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Styles: Modern Postbebop, Bebop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 731455807622, 0731455807622

Recorded in 1964, I Talk with the Spirits is one of Roland Kirk's most revered, yet scarce, concept albums. It was the first and only time that the innovative multi-instrumentalist would focus entirely on flutes. The result is a bizarre, otherworldly album on which beautiful ballads, blues-inflected vocalization, and iconic humor easily coalesce. Propelled by the supple rhythm section of pianist Horace Parlan, bassist Michael Fleming, and drummer Walter Perkins and special appearances by vocalist Crystal Joy Albert and Bob Moses on vibraphone, Kirk delivers a mixed bag of well-worn classics ("We'll Be Together Again," "People," and "My Ship") plus brilliant originals, like the wonderfully nutty "Serenade to a Cuckoo" and the haunting, Japanese-influenced title track. Although gimmicky and dated at places, this is essential Kirk. --John Murph

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CD Reviews

So much to listen to and feel good!
Yves Latorte | 07/05/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Are their musicians like this anymore? With a title like "I Talk With The Spirits", one would imagine that sizable goods were in order. While no one track can speak representatively for the entire effort, not even the title track, one cannot fail to be astonished by the spectrum of moods and ideas that flow through these ten pieces. The experience is uncommonly artistic and uncompromising but never strains the ear or mind. On this album of flute-based sessions, one is in the presence of a very fertile imagination, a setlist genius who touches the many colors of jazz yet delivers it all in a human-sized package. For the presence of cuckoo clock, japanese music box, the numerous moments of extended flute technique (keypad percussion, simultaneous singing and playing, & other extramusical noises), and brief parsings of studio commentary, tags like "gimmicky" and "dated" have been attached by others. But to my ears it is pure time-defying magic. This is jazz plus Rahsaan, he is the extra ingredient that makes music special, to make you feel nothing but good all over, as if you might be in the presence of a weirdly beautiful, but beneficent shaman. As a free-range whole, arranged and executed by a poet's poet, clearly and constantly musical, this album has the mark of unsurpassed integrity. The superb digitally remastered sound is warmly focused and tactile, just the way it should be in the home. Give it up to Rahsaan."
Get the vinyl if you can
T. D. Johnstone | Roslin, Scotland | 10/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The music of Roland's I always liked best was 'I Talk with the Spirits', an album exclusively devoted to him playing the flute. Spiritual and lyrical, just a beautiful record. I rescued the LP from the family home and have had it for the last 30 or so years and play it now and again, preferably late at night.

On playing the CD, I find for the first time in my career as a listener that I can detect a difference between the sound of an LP and that of a CD. Pedantic musical types go on about the way digital recordings strip away extraneous, almost inaudible layers of sound, upper and lower harmonics, ambience. Perhaps because this is flute music, full of harmonics that only bats and dogs usually listen to, I actually notice these missing levels on the CD. At times the main flute line sounds artificially pure, but crude and unshaded compared to the LP. There are times when Roland vocalises through the flute: this sounds like wind rushing through wires and leaves, crossed with someone breaking down a door, v. powerful and expressive. But on the CD there is not quite the same range, it is flattened out, and the coarse pungency of the notes is partly lost.

But don't despair! -- this is still a lovely album, and if you haven't the LP for comparison your enjoyment will be unimpaired. It may all be just in my mind...

Tom J

El Lagarto | 07/22/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I am lucky to be one of the few people who has this album on its original vinyl. My father purchased it when it came out, so I am quite lucky.I am mystified by the various instrumental voices of Kirk, no one could put on a visual show like him. He would play 3, 4, or more instruments at once. His songs have all the sophisticated and complicated changes of an excellent composer, but his multiple instrumental assault adds even more layers and sonorous changes. This is an excellent album and absolutely worth having in your collection. Kirk at a creative peak."