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The Case of the Three Sided Dream in Audio Color by Rahsaan Roland Kirk

Bless the folks at Collectables for getting this long-lost gem back in circulation! Originally issued in 1975 as a 3-sided two record set, it was derided somewhat by the jazz critical establishment for being "too commercial," for recording with guys like genre-hopping players Cornell Dupree, Steve Gadd and Richard Tee, guys who often dared play funk and pop with impunity. To paraphrase my late father: urinate upon them, for this is one of those rare instances where jazz "integrity" and fun, get-down (that’s what we used to say in the 70s, anyway), glad ‘n’ greasy soulful groove meet as equals. Three Sided Dream is like a walk down jazz and pop memory lane, though this memory lane goes through a maze of funhouse mirrors. While the band lays down amiable yet damn insinuating groove-lines, Mr. Kirk twists melodies inside/out with a great deal of affectionate irreverence and only a little irony, and with a big nod to The Blues, from whence it All came. In many ways, Kirk carried on in a tradition that’s now virtually extinct: jazz-musician-as-entertainer, like Fats Waller, Mose Allison, Joe Venuti, Lester Bowie and, yes, even Duke Ellington, guys who were serious musicians but weren’t shy about showing you a good time. Scott Joplin’s "The Entertainer" and the R&B/blues/rock warhorse "High Hell Sneakers" are given lavish, ingenious treatments that still ooze Old School funk, but - unlike some 60s/70s jazzbos who tried to "get funky" - RRK always lets his mischievous and singularly imaginative, quirky nature shine through. (He never gave the impression he was "slumming.") "Portrait of Those Beautiful Ladies" has it ALL sewn up: gutsy and charming, sweet and overblown (literally) flute by RRK and a neat recurring descending funk riff that’ll stick with you like a jingle (forever). Interspersed throughout the album are brief, disorienting but vivid, John Cage-ian sound collages - imagine if Marvin Gaye or Sly Stone had done their own version(s)of The Beatles’ "Revolution #9." And to top it off, Kirk had one of the most exultant sounds on the tenor saxophone EVER, rooted in the blues and swing-to-bop guys like Don Byas and Ben Webster, yet could soar into the ionosphere like David Murray, and it’s in evidence here. OY, is this a good one!

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Rahsaan Roland Kirk
  • CD Title: The Case of the Three Sided Dream in Audio Color
  • Genre: Acid Jazz
  • Year Released: 2002
  • Reissue Original Release: 1975
  • Record Label: Collectables
  • Musicians: R. Kirk: winds; Hilton Ruiz, Richard Tee: keys; Cornell Dupree, Keith Loving: guitar; Pat Patrick: bari sax; Sonny Brown, Steve Gadd: drums; Bill Salter: bass.
  • Rating: Five Stars
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