Boston Globe Jazz Festival
Roland Kirk jamming with Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, 1969


“I wish we could just stay on the bandstand, it’s so peaceful up here.”

“When I’m reincarnated, I’m gonna come back as a musical note!”

“I didn’t ask my mother to buy me a trumpet or a violin. I started right on the water hose. My uncle used to come over to the house and play on the piano, and I’d get a water hose and play the melody with him.” Rahsaan Roland Kirk

“Flute, tenor sax, alto sax, soprano sax, baritone sax, manzello, stritch, clarinet, bugle, trumpet, various types of whistles(including the nose whistle), piccolo, oboe, percussion, harmonica, celeste, organ… These are only some of the instruments played, even mastered, by a single man during his lifetime. That’s not to mention the many bizarre instruments he invented or the fact that he could play three saxophones at the same time, hitting different notes. He also learned the technique of circular breathing so he could play without stopping for an obvious breath. Without being disrespectful to other greats, he was simply the most incredible flautist and exciting saxophonist a person could have the pleasure of hearing. On stage he was also a comedian. Losing his sight at age two didn’t stop him from becoming a Jazz legend. ” Rob Powell


“Whenever anyone would ask him what his religion was,” his third wife and widow Dorthaan recalled, “he would always say he was of the religion of dreams because this is the way a lot of important things happened in his life.”

“I have no religion that you get out of books, I am not a Muslim. My whole religion has been in this dream religion. My life has been motivated by dreams.”

Thanks to dear friend, Steve Grosskopf, for these last quotes and for introducing me to three of the videos.


One thought on “Rahsaan Roland Kirk (August 7, 1935 – December 5, 1977)

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