Rahsaan Roland Kirk, the blind jazz multi-instrumentalist had an extreme vision for music. In the 70’s he formed an activist group with the purpose to give jazz wider exposure on television. Their strategy consisted of carefully planned disruptive acts on mainstream media to initiate a dialog (literally hours-long conversations) about black classical music aka jazz.
Picture this: a musical guerrilla group, whose members included bassist Charles Mingus, saxophonist Archie Shepp, drummer Roy Haynes, and whose leader was blind! This blind leader, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, had a vision for music which he claimed he saw in a dream.
Outspoken, melodic, layered, relentless, unabated. Rahsaan changed his name to Rahsaan because of something he heard in a dream. Rah-saan, raw-sound, roaming sound. He did things, harmonically, melodically, and physically, that not even Coltrane or Davis attempted.
RRK was essentially a conscientious Dadaist. His musical experimentations communicated an inventiveness rooted in analysis and assemblage. He would always go further. He didn’t see an end.
Here’s a man who touched the heavens frequently, and telegraphed the transmission. His compositions are sculptural, occupying negative space, suggesting 3-D contemplation.