Kirk, Roland – Here Comes The Whistleman [ORANGE VINYL] – New LP
All Analog Roland Kirk, Pre-Rahsaan?! Sightless, peerless, multi-instrumentalist, Roland’s Kirk's 1967 debut for Atlantic is a monster of a live set from '65 featuring pianists Lonnie Liston Smith and Jaki Byard, bassist Major Holley and drummer Charles Crosby- all put to tape in Atlantic Studios NYC. Cut all analog, pressed on orange vinyl!
Sightless, peerless, multi-instrumentalist, Roland’s Kirk’s 1967 debut for Atlantic is a monster of a live set from ‘65 featuring pianists Lonnie Liston Smith and Jaki Byard, bassist Major Holley and drummer Charles Crosby- all put to tape in Atlantic Studios NYC. Cut all analog, pressed on orange vinyl!
Think of Rahsaan Roland Kirk and a series of images flick through one’s mind. There he is, black beret and shades blowing three saxophones at once, next he’s draped in a kaftan with bells, horns, flutes, whistles and all manner of strange things hanging round his neck and then in a frock coat and top hat playing his saxophone on a street corner. He’s one of the most surreal sights you’ve ever seen and each image contains a thousand narratives.
One of the things that made Kirk so special was his rapport with an audience. They weren’t just there to watch and listen. They were part of the show. Kirk would hand out whistles to the punters then lead them pied-piper-like out of the club and into the street. Nothing beats having seen Rahsaan live but Here Comes The Whistleman is a fine live date with some great music, featuring separately pianists Jaki Byard and Lonnie Smith. In a way, the spoken intros are key to the atmosphere of the record. Kirk has the audience eating out of his hand and as soon as he puts the horn to his mouth you are there with him at that moment.
• Cut all analog by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio!
• Pressed on orange vinyl at Third Man Pressing!
• First ever mono reissue of Roland Kirk’s Atlantic debut!
Roots • Here Comes The Whistleman • I Wished On The Moon • Making Love After Hours • Yesterdays • Aluminum Baby • Step Right U
Here Comes the Whistleman Review by Thom Jurek: Here Comes the Whistleman showcases Rahsaan Roland Kirk in 1967 with a fine band, live in front of a host of invited guests at Atlantic Studios in New York. His band for the occasion is stellar: Jacki Byard or Lonnie Smith on piano, Major Holley on bass, Lonnie Smith on piano, and Charles Crosby on drums. This is the hard, jump blues and deep R&B Roland Kirk band, and from the git, on "Roots," they show why. Kirk comes screaming out of the gate following a double time I-IV-V progression, with Holley punching the accents along the bottom and Byard shoving the hard tight chords up against Kirk's three-horn lead. The extended harmony Kirk plays -- though the melody line is a bar walking honk -- is extreme, full of piss and vinegar. On the title track, along with the artist's requisite, and genuinely good, humor, Kirk breaks out the whistles on top of the horn for a blues stomp with Smith taking over the piano chores. Smith plays a two chord vamp, changing the accent before he beings to break it open into a blues with skittering fills and turnarounds while Kirk blows circularly for 12 and 14 bars at a time. Byard returns for a tender and stirring duet rendition of "I Wished on the Moon," with his own glorious rich lyricism. And here is where Kirk displays the true measure of his ability as a saxophonist. Turning the ballad inside out, every which way without overstating the notes. Here, Ben Webster meets Coleman Hawkins in pure lyric ecstasy. The set officially ends with the wailing flute and sax jam "Aluminum Baby," (both courtesy of the irrepressible Kirk) and the bizarre ride of "Step Right Up" where Kirk sings scat in a dialect that sounds like Pop-eye. This might arguably be the place to start for an interested but underexposed listener who wants to experience how dazzlingly original Kirk was.