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Rahsaan: The Complete Mercury Recordings of Roland Kirk.
The best way to listen to the music on these 10 discs is to forget that the late Rahsaan Roland Kirk plays several reed instruments at once on many of them or that he practiced circular breathing to keep the line going endlessly. These means to the end of musical expression became a distraction. Sometimes they prevented Kirk`s musicality from being heard over the novelty of his techniques or made him seem like a musical freak. The novelty may have drawn the crowd, but the music lasts. Some of the phrasing and passionate improvisation on these recordings is simply magnificent. (Try ''Django'' on disc 8 for a straightforward and elegant example.)
When Kirk was on (he was best before an audience), he seemed to pour music from every pore. He shouted, hummed through the reed, bellowed and shrieked like a man possessed. The intensity of what drove him may have been most visible in the sight of three mouthpieces stuffed into his mouth, but it was what came out the three bells that mattered. This is a splendid collection and a remembrance of a splendid musician.