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Roland Kirk - The Limelight/Verve Albums

(Numbered 180g Vinyl 4LP Box Set)

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Item: LMOS3006

Roland Kirk The Limelight/Verve Albums on Numbered 180g 4LP Box Set

Featuring the 4 Albums: I Talk With The Spirits; Rip, Rig And Panic; Slightly Latin; & Now Please Don't Cry, Beautiful Edith

Mastered from the Original Analog Masters by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound in New York City

Born August 7, 1936 in Columbus, Ohio, Roland Kirk grew up to become one of the most all-encompassing and unique virtuosos in jazz. Born essentially blind (his eyes could distinguish light), he showed an early desire to try to make music from things such as the end of a water hose. His first real instrument, at age 9, was the trumpet, but his doctor felt that it put too much pressure on his eyes, so he switched to saxophone and clarinet. He was a natural musician and a fast learner who was playing professional gigs while still in high school. 

He dreamt at age 16 that he was playing three instruments at once. In a local music store, he soon found two rare oddities: a manzello which is a Spanish variant of the soprano sax with a bent, flaired bell and a stritch, which was essentially a straight alto sax with a large bell at the end. He worked out his own false fingerings to be able to play three-part harmony on the three saxophones. 

At age 23, he made his first album for King Records in Cincinnati. That label was the home of James Brown and other great R & B acts and Kirk's album quickly became a rare collector's item. He progressed quickly and became well known in Chicago where he made his second album for Argo in 1960 at the behest of Ramsey Lewis. He ventured to New York in 1961 making an album for Prestige Records with organist Jack McDuff. The war between the pro-Kirk and anti-Kirk factions in the musical and critical communities was taking shape. Genius or gimmick-laden huckster? History fell on the side of genius. 

In 1964, Mercury announced Limelight, a new subsidiary with incredibly elaborate packaging. Roland moved to the new label and recorded what could be called his first concept record. He left all the saxophones at home and recorded an entire album on a variety of flutes. I Talk With The Spirits added vibist Bobby Moses to his quartet with Miss C. J. Albert's wordless vocal on two tunes. The material was all geared to the flute but ranged from the lyrical to the funky. Roland's kick-off original, the irresistible "Serenade To A Cuckoo" became a radio hit. The whole album is a coherent and beautiful statement. 

To see Kirk live was like having a safe seat at the core of a typhoon and witnessing a force of nature facilely draw upon the entire history of jazz with dazzling energy, humor and imagination. That was glimpsed on 1963's Kirk In Copenhagen, but the intensity that was Kirk and his music was not properly captured until an all-star studio album Rip, Rig And Panic, made at Rudy Van Gelder's studio. The rhythm section of Jaki Byard, Richard Davis and Elvin Jones was a dream team for Roland. These were men who could follow him anywhere in a heartbeat and who meshed musically on the highest plane. They were, quite simply, on his level. This studio album packed all the power and energy of Roland Kirk live, moving effortless from New Orleans to swing to bop to free form to musique concrete. 

Kirk's final Limelight album was no less ambitious though it was a clear attempt to cross over into more popular radio formats. Kirk and arranger Garnett Brown add brass and percussion to the mix for Slightly Latin which also includes the Coleridge Perkinson choir on three tracks. Two pop tunes are covered, a smokin' "Walk On By" and the Beatles' "And I Love Her." The rest is densely textured originals on which Roland plays a fair amount of baritone sax with the grace and power he brings to any reed instrument. 

Before committing to an exclusive contract with Atlantic Records in 1967, he made one album for Creed Taylor at Verve. This would be his third and final album at the Van Gelder studio. Now Please Don't Cry, Beautiful Edith is a celebrated quartet affair with Lonnie Liston Smith on piano, Ronnie Boykins on bass and the indefatigable Grady Tate on drums. The program is mostly originals, but with a wide variety of grooves and melodic material. Fittingly, it kicks off with a beautiful Ellingtonian original blues "Blue Rol" which is a rare feature for Roland on clarinet. 

These four mid-sixties gems capture Roland Kirk at the height of his powers with his identity fully formed in four wonderful contexts! These four albums were recorded at some of the finest studios in the New York City area including Nola Studios and Capitol Studios. Rip. Rig And Panic and Now Please Don't You Cry, Beautiful Edith were two of the three times that Kirk recorded at the famed Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. All four of these albums have been mastered from their original analog masters by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound in New York City

This is the first Mosaic set to be pressed at Chad Kassem's Quality Record Pressings. About the pressings coming out of QRP, Michael Fremer wrote on TrackingAngle.com "all I can say is THIS IS INCREDIBLE!!!!!! The sonics are spectacular and the pressing quality is as good as has ever been pressed in my opinion. The backgrounds are dead, black, silent the way Japanese pressings used to come on JVC 'Supervinyl!' and believe me it doesn't get any better than that, though this may even be richer, darker and blacker." 

"While Slightly Latin and Now Please Don't Cry, Beautiful Edith are excellent albums, I Talk With Spirits and Rip, Rig And Panic were two of Roland's proudest moments in a recording studio and remains two peaks among his many achievements. It was an honor to know and learn from Roland and it gives me great satisfaction to shine the spotlight on these mid-sixties recordings." - Michael Cuscuna

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Roland Kirk The Limelight/Verve Albums Contents:

LP1 - I Talk With The Spirits
1.  Serenade To A Cuckoo (Rahsaan Roland Kirk)
2.  We’ll Be Together Again/People (C. Fischer-F. Laine/B. Merrill-J. Styne)
3.  A Quote From Clifford Brown (Rahsaan Roland Kirk)
4.  Trees (Rahsaan Roland Kirk)
5.  Fugue’n And Alludin’ (Rahsaan Roland Kirk)
6.  The Business Ain’t Nothin’ But The Blues (Rahsaan Roland Kirk)
7.  I Talk With The Spirits (Rahsaan Roland Kirk)
8.  Ruined Castles (Rentaroh Taki)
9.  Django (John Lewis)
10. My Ship (K. Weill-I. Gershwin)

Roland Kirk, flute, alto flute, African wooden flute; Bobby Moses, vibes -1, Horace Parlan, piano, celeste-2; Michael Fleming, bass; Walter Perkins, drums, Miss C. J. Albert, vocal -3.

LP2 - Rip, Rig And Panic
1.  No Tonic Pres (Rahsaan Roland Kirk)
2.  Once In A While (M. Edwards-B. Green)
3.  From Bechet, Byas And Fats (Rahsaan Roland Kirk)
4.  Mystical Dreams (Rahsaan Roland Kirk)
5.  Rip, Rig And Panic (Rahsaan Roland Kirk)
6.  Black Diamond (Milt Sealey)
7.  Slippery, Hippery, Flippery (Rahsaan Roland Kirk)

Roland Kirk, tenor sax, manzello, stritch, castenets, siren; Jaki Byard, piano; Richard Davis, bass; Elvin Jones, drums.

LP3 - Slightly Latin
1.  Walk On By (B. Bacharach-H. David)
2.  Raouf (Rahsaan Roland Kirk)
3.  It’s All In The Game (C. Dawes-C. Sigman)
4.  Juarez Rahsaan Roland Kirk)
5.  Shakey Money (Rahsaan Roland Kirk)
6.  Nothing But The Truth (Rahsaan Roland Kirk)
7.  Safari (Eddie Mathias)
8.  And I Love Her (J. Lennon-P. McCartney)
9.  Ebrauqs (Rahsaan Roland Kirk)

Virgil Jones, trumpet; Martin Banks, fluegelhorn; Garnett Brown, trombone; Roland Kirk, tenor sax, manzello, stritch, baritone  sax, piccolo, flute, bagpipes, chanter, siren; Horace Parlan, piano, celeste, vibes-1; Eddie Mathias, bass; Sonny Brown, drums, Nagoya harp -2; Montego Joe, congas; Manuel Ramos, percussion, vocal choir -3.

LP4 - Now Please Don't Cry, Beautiful Edith
1.  Blue Rol (Rahsaan Roland Kirk)
2.  Alfie (B. Bacharach-H. David)
3.  Why Don’t They Know (Rahsaan Roland Kirk)
4.  Silverlization (Rahsaan Roland Kirk)
5.  Fall Out (Rahsaan Roland Kirk)
6.  Now Please Don’t Cry, Beautiful Edith (Rahsaan Roland Kirk)
7.  Stompin’ Grounds (Rahsaan Roland Kirk)
8.  It’s A Grand Night For Swinging (Billy Taylor)

Roland Kirk, tenor sax, manzello, stritch, flute, clarinet; Lonnie Liston Smith, piano; Ronnie Boykins, bass; Grady Tate, drums.

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