The extraordinary multi-instrumentalist Rahsaan Roland Kirk(1936-1977) was in superb form on his debut for the ATLANTIC label recorded on November 27 & 30, 1967 at Webster Hall, New York. With Kirk(tenor sax, manzello, stritch, clarinet, flute, whistle, English horn, flexafone) were Ron Burton(piano); Steve Novosel(bass) & Jimmy Hopps(drums). Trombonist Dick Griffith is added on 'Fly By Night'. The nine varied and memorable tracks include eight Kirk originals and an impassioned version of Duke Ellington's 'The Creole Love Call'. Other highlights are Kirk's beautiful flute on 'Fingers In The wind', the LSD-influenced title-track and the exuberant 'Lovellevelliloqui'. Although there are 'wilder' Kirk albums, 'The Inflated Tear' is an ideal introduction to his work.
This magnificent musician is one of the true treasures of American jazz; before I actually started listening to him I was a bit suspicious about his multiinstrumentalism, but he uses his numerous (and often strange) horns and whistles as a musician - there is nothing flashy or inflated in what I heard of him so far (incidently; the title of the album refers to Kirk's medical problems connected to his blindness...).
But, if you want to know, on the cover of this fine Atlantic album they say he plays tenor sax, Manzello, stritch, clarinet, flute, whistle AND "English horn or flexafone"...
The rest of the group are Ron Burton (p), Steve Novosel (b) and Jimmy Hopps (dm), plus Dick Griffith (tb) on "Fly by Night".
This was the first "true" jazz album I bought three years ago, and in the time since I bought it, I've yet to find another that matches it. There's not a single bad or average track on this album: from the chilled opener "Black and Crazy Blues" through the manic, aggressive "Many Blessings" to the tortured, melancholy title track, this album is pure five star jazz. If you're a saxophonist then there's no excuse for not owning this album. And if you're not a saxophonist, buy this, and you may well want to be!
The music Roland Kirk creates comes from all over the jazzosphere. From New Orleans to Bop and Blues, Free -form and more, Kirk draws his influences but melds them into a form that is distinctively his and his alone. As a multi instrumentalist and player of all sorts of obscure wind instruments, his albums have an uncommon sense of colour, drama and energy that make them highly distinctive and entertaining.
The Inflated Tear' from 1967,is one of many great albums from Kirk. The music is quirky, warm and mellow and then ferociously passionate and joyful. Kirk is never predictable and there is no discernible formula at work. His melodies and solos merge into each other so that the listener is taken on a musical journey where themes appear and mutate over time, leaving the listener gasping at the imaginative powers on display. This isn't a 'blowing' kind of album. Each tune is carefully thought out, but there is plenty of room individual contribution. Lovers of Ellington, Coltrane, Dolphy or Mingus will find lots to enjoy here. Try the Gospel flavoured 'The Inflated Tear' ,featuring some beautiful piano from Ron Burton, it might be the best thing on the album and certainly gives a good idea of what to expect from the other tracks. Recommended.
This was the first LP I ever heard by Roland Kirk (1936-77) and I've loved it on vinyl and on CD. On this 1967 date he's accompanied by a relatively obscure group of nonetheless simpatico musicians: Ron Burton eloquent on piano, bassist Steve Novosel, and Jimmy Hopps keeping the beat. The opener The Black and Crazy Blues is a stunner, and then we get Kirk's little son gurgling for a moment as an intro to the lovingly composed and played A Laugh For Rory. Fingers in the Wind is a heart-meltingly lovely ballad, again by Kirk, with the title tune a potent comment in music on his own blindness. Two great tracks. Ellington's Creole Love Call is honoured, and the last three numbers are Kirk simply blowing like the consummate jazzman he was. Roland Kirk is never less than worth hearing. On an album like this one, he's downright essential.
I just bought this having heard very little Mingus and I can say that this is one of the hottest albums I have heard in years. Admittedly the first track is my favourite and perhaps shadows the others but every track on here is a joy to listen to. Great compositions, brilliant playing and intense energy make this album one of my favourites.