Friday, March 15, 2013

Roland Kirk: Up there somewhere

I would posit that this begins with Roland playing a Stylophone,  an early portable electronic synthesizer. Here he puts the backbeat in Bachrach.

For wierd somewhat unbeknownst reasons Rashaan Roland Kirk appeared as the last artist on the last Ed Sullian show...THIS IS NOT THAT [above he plays I say a lil prayer].. On the Sullivan show he played a version of the recent hit: My Cherie Amour.

“It was difficult to believe one’s eyes or ears when tuning in the show entirely by accident, not having heard of the booking. I caught Sullivan’s remark about staying tuned for Rahsaan Roland Kirk and his ‘classical jazz musicians,’” Leonard Feather wrote in Down Beat.

It was sure a surprise to me. A couple of my friends had some of his records. Steve Allen or Jack Paar might have had him on before. So I knew who was. The fact that he could play a nose flute and a sax more or less at the same time probably partially the reason he got on some of those tv shows. Show biz was still in sway.

But it sort of ended that day, when the Ed Sullivan show went away, but in what a way! Kirk pulled together  Roy Haynes, Charlie Mingus, and Archie Shepp to accompany him. From My Cherie Amore they strayed. Lit upon Mingus's Hatian Fight Dance. I saw this and was awed.

Once the sonic storm subsided, Ed Sullivan appeared looking pale and wooden, saying “Wonderful, wonderful! Let’s hear it for Ramsam Roland Kirk!” As the applause dwindled comedian Godfrey Cambridge sneaked up behind Sullivan and slipped an Afro wig over his head, proclaiming Ed “An Honorary Negro" ... 

Later, Kirk joked that he should not be blamed for Ed going off the air.

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