Rahsaan Roland Kirk
2nd July 2016
Title: Bright Moments
Label: Pure Pleasure
I have heard – having never seen the man play live – that Kirk’s concerts were both animated and stimulating and that the audience never really knew in what direction they would proceed. What they did expect was, to coin a phrase, the unexpected, both in terms of what happened up on stage and in terms of the musical fare offered to them which was wide in style and innvovative in approach. This double album does a great job of packaging all of these things. In fact, it does it so well that you could call this 1973 LP his best in that decade.
The album is a real time piece in terms of what Kirk did and how he did it. He loved to chat to the audience and loved to engage with them and obviously felt very comfortable doing so. Yes, some of the style of chat sounds a little bit dated but that’s no matter because this is an album from a time and a place. More than that, I feel that Kirk intertwined the music with the chat because he used the audience, in a way, to raise himself to several peaks and heights throughout the concert. Kirk received a regular energy boost throughout, as it where.
Part of the reason for the double album is down to the long tracks which enabled Kirk to explore his solos on an array of instruments, much of which seemed like an impossibility for one man to achieve but, yes, he did. Pedal Up’s demonstration of Kirk playing three horns at once was just one example, the nose flute was another, singing through his traditional flute playing a third. Only Kirk would play a Fats Waller stomp, a sophisticated Ellington tune and a contemporary Bacharach pop tune on his own terms and actually get away with it.
Thank goodness the mastering copes with this shenanigans. Bright Moments is a party of an album, kick off your shoes and join in why don’t ya?