A release of a previously unissued concert recording by the great Roland Kirk is welcome news, and if much of producer Joel Dorn’s liner notes is nonsensical, the release of this German concert, Brotherman in the Fatherland (Hyena), will be welcome by fans of the legendary multi-instrumentalist, despite its title. At this March 3, 1972 Munich concert, Kirk was accompanied by Ron Burton piano, Henry Pete Pearson “Mettahias” on bass, Richie Goldberg on drums and Joe ‘Hablo’ Texidor on percussion for a ripping good program that grows on one with repeated hearings.
Kirk is heard on tenor saxophone, flute, nose flute, manzello, stritch and clarinet on the selections which include his interpretations of top 40 hits by the Carpenters, Close to You, and the Temptations classic My Girl, along with several numbers associated with John Coltrane, Billy Strayhorn’s Lush Life, Mongo Santamaria’s Afro-Blue and Trane’s own Blue Train. This last number, which closes the album, is a seventeen-minute musical tour de force. The medley of Seasons and Serenade to a Cuckoo, showcase Kirk’s skills as a flautist from the almost ‘classical’ opening to the vocalized playing that was highly influential (Kirk is the primary source of Jethro Tull flautist Ian Anderson’s style).
Kirk can be so playful at one moment, then a little bit later he can take it to the basement equal to any blues player, and elsewhere take things out almost as if speaking in tongues with his sax. I really did not fully appreciate just how good this disc is until the fourth or fifth time I listened to it. Every time I listen to it, I notice something new. I was fortunate to see Rahsaan Roland Kirk live and any strong new live recording of this master is always welcome. I might suggest the Rhino anthology of Kirk, Does Your House Have Lions: The Rahsaan Roland Kirk Anthology, for those unfamiliar with his music, but any fan of Kirk will want this latest release of concert performances and more are promised.
This review originally in the august 2006 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 285). I do not recall if I was sent a review copy or this was a purchase.