Thursday, December 17, 2009
Rahsaan Roland KIRK - Blacknuss 1971
Like his 1968 album VOLUNTEERED SLAVERY, most of BLACKNUSS consists of Rahsaan Roland Kirk's idiosyncratic interpretations of pop songs, including a soulful ... Full Description"Ain't So Sunshine" featuring Kirk simultaneously singing and playing the flute; bluesy versions of the Motown classics "What's Goin' On/Mercy Mercy Me," "Never Can Say Goodbye" and "My Girl"; and even a relaxed take on Bread's soft-pop hit "Make It With You." Though jazz interpretations of pop songs are often slight and shallowly commercial, Kirk's obvious fondness for the songs themselves ignites his typically emotional reedwork, passionate even when he's playing several instruments simultaneously. The pop songs are given an added gravity by the album's two stand-out tracks, a glorious take on the gospel standard "Old Rugged Cross" preceded by Kirk's fervent sermonizing, and the anthemic title track, a drawling blues jam punctuated by the vocals of Kirk and Cissy Houston and some sterling piano by Sonelius Smith.
With a deep soul groove, Kirk shines on funky renditions of Marvin Gaye's 'What's Going On/Mercy Mercy Me', the traditional 'Old Rugged Cross' and Bill Withers' 'Ain't No Sunshine'.
From its opening bars, with Bill Salter's bass and Rahsaan's flute passionately playing Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine," you know this isn't an ordinary Kirk album (were any of them?). As the string section, electric piano, percussion, and Cornel Dupree's guitar slip in the back door, one can feel the deep soul groove Kirk is bringing to the jazz fore here. As the tune fades just two and a half minutes later, the scream of Kirk's tenor comes wailing through the intro of Marvin Gaye's "What's Goin' On," with a funk backdrop and no wink in the corner — he's serious. With Richard Tee's drums kicking it, the strings developing into a wall of tension in the backing mix, and Charles McGhee's trumpet hurling the long line back at Kirk, all bets are off — especially when they medley the mother into "Mercy Mercy Me." By the time they reach the end of the Isleys' "I Love You, Yes I Do," with the whistles, gongs, shouting, soul crooning, deep groove hustling, and greasy funk dripping from every sweet-assed note, the record could be over because the world has already turned over and surrendered — and the album is only ten minutes old! Blacknuss, like The Inflated Tear, Volunteered Slavery, Rip, Rig and Panic, and I Talk to the Spirits, is Kirk at his most visionary. He took the pop out of pop and made it Great Black Music. He took the jazz world down a peg to make it feel its roots in the people's music, and consequently made great jazz from pop tunes in the same way his forbears did with Broadway show tunes. While the entire album shines like a big black sun, the other standouts include a deeply moving read of "My Girl" and a version of "The Old Rugged Cross" that takes it back forever from those white fundamentalists who took all the blood and sweat from its grain and replaced them with cheap tin and collection plates. On Kirk's version, grace doesn't come cheap, though you can certainly be a poor person to receive it. Ladies and gents, Blacknuss is as deep as a soul record can be and as hot as a jazz record has any right to call itself. A work of sheer blacknuss!
By Thom Jurek. AMG.
Henry Pearson- Bass- (tracks A1, B1, B4) , Bill Salter (tracks A2 to A7, B2, B3)
Richard Landrum- Congas (tracks A1, B1, B4)
Arthur Jenkins- Congas, Percussion [Cabassa] (tracks A2 to A7, B2, B3)
Bernard Purdie- Drums (tracks A2 to A7, B2, B3) , Khalil Mhdri (tracks A1, B1, B4)
Rahsaan Roland Kirk- Flute, Sax [Tenor], Percussion [Police Whistle, Gong], Sax [manzello, Stritch]
Billy Butler- Guitar (tracks A1, B1, B4) , Cornell Dupree (tracks A2 to A7, B2, B3) , Keith Loving (tracks A2 to A7, B2, B3)
Mickey Turner- Organ (tracks A2 to A7, B2, B3)
Joe Habad Texidor- Percussion
Richard Tee- Piano (tracks A2 to A7, B2, B3) , Sonelius Smith (tracks A1, B1, B4)
Dick Griffin- Trombone (tracks A2 to A7, B2, B3)
Charles McGhee- Trumpet (tracks A2 to A7, B2, B3)
Rahsaan Roland Kirk- Vocals (tracks A1, A5, B1, B4)
Princess Patience Burton- Vocals (A7)
Cissy Houston- Vocals (B1, B5)
A1. Ain't No Sunshine 2:26
A2. What's Goin' On / Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) 3:46
A3. I Love You Yes I Do 2:48
A4. Take Me Girl, I'm Ready 3:19
A5. My Girl 3:06
A6. Which Way Is It Going 2:24
A7. One Nation 3:40
B1. Never Can Say Goodbye 4:00
B2. Old Rugged Cross 7:14
B3. Make It With You 4:50
B4. Blacknuss 5:13