(Rahsaan) Roland Kirk: Introducing Roland Kirk (1960)

Introducing Roland Kirk [Argo 669]

Track list:

01. The Call
02. Soul Station
03. Our Waltz
04. Our Love Is Here to Stay
05. Spirit Girl
06. Jack the Ripper


Roland Kirk – tenor sax, manzello, stritch, whistle
Ira Sullivan – trumpet, tenor sax
William Burton – organ, piano
Donald Garrett – bass
Sonny Brown – drums

Recorded: Ter-Mar Recording Studios, Chicago, IL; June 7, 1960
Released: 1960
Label: Argo
LP 669

CH 9160 / CH 91551 [1984, re-issue]
GRD-821 [1998, CD, re-issue (ChessMates series)]

1995 CD [Le Jazz 35] issued “Soul Station” under the name Rahsaan Roland Kirk

Supervised by: Jack Tracy
Recording Engineer: Ron Malo

Cover Design: Don Bronstein
Photography: Bill Claxton

re-issue (1984)
Producer: Freddy Jefferies, Joseph Robinson, Sr., Milton W. Walden, Norman Schoenfeld
Art Direction: Hemu Aggarwal


Although the title suggests otherwise, Introducing Roland Kirk is actually Kirk’s second long player.

Poor distribution kept his debut, Triple Threat, from receiving the attention it deserved until subsequent re-issues of the album in the early ’70s.

On these sides, Kirk is accompanied by a quartet including: Ira Sullivan (trumpet/tenor sax), William Burton (keyboards), Don Garrett (bass), and Sonny Brown (drums).

Kirk leads the ensemble with his “triple threat” — consisting of a variation of the soprano sax called a manzello; a stritch, which is a variant of the straight alto saxophone; and a slightly modified tenor sax — all of which he could manoeuvre simultaneously.

Although Kirk’s performances are exceedingly reserved on this album, there is little doubt of his technical proficiencies.

The three sides penned by Kirk are among the most interesting as they allow for a certain degree of openness that is essential when spotlighting his unique talents.

This autonomy yields some exceptional interplay between Kirk and Ira Sullivan — highlighted on “The Call” and “Soul Station.”

One of the motifs evident throughout Kirk’s career involved his ability to personalize pop standards into his very distinctive mold as “Our Love Is Here to Stay” aptly exemplifies.

Although some free jazz and avant-garde purists may find Introducing Roland Kirk not challenging enough, it provides a solid basis for his increasingly bombastic post-bop experiments throughout the remainder of the ’60s and ’70s.
~Lindsay Palner[]