Third Dimension

Album review
Third Dimension

Roland Kirk

Third Dimension

Label: Pure Pleasure
Media: CD
Genre: Jazz

This Pure Pleasure reissue of a Bethlehem title has yet another distinction, because it’s a Bethlehem reissue of his first, and extremely rare session on King Records. Kirk is the best-known multi-instrumentalist in jazz, meaning someone who plays several instruments at the same time. When Kirk removed the handful of instruments from his mouth he would toss in rap-like commentary. He recorded and performed extensively, almost exclusively as a bandleader and did it all as a blind man. 

An iconoclast, in the mold of Monk and Mingus, he mixed influences of jazz, pop and classical music into a fascinating mélange without ever losing a strong feeling for the blues. Kirk was born in 1936 and recorded this, his first LP as a leader in 1956, originally released as Triple Threat on King Records. Kirk then signed with Bethlehem which released Introducing Roland Kirk in 1960, and later released these King sides under the new title in the 1970s. While the idea of playing triple instruments may seem unusual, the results seem very familiar, as the music is a concoction of big band swing and R & B, dished out in a very pleasing stew of great renditions of standards like ‘Stormy Weather’. Highest recommendation. 

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