Prepare Thyself to deal with a Miracle by Rashaan Roland Kirk

July 7th, 2012 Comments Off


sax and vocal trading notes and pans until both reach their highest unbreaking range, the range before breaking. then Literal breakage.
Female vocal, soulful and mysterious ” MO AH” moans in lament, dignified.  Stanzas, as if to the written page are punctuated by strings plucked and pizzicatoed until a full orchestra of timpani, bells, chimes and mo ah strings move the present horn line, touching base with the melody, proceeding on along via a solemn march as if to war, but a war is not in the field, it seems to be out there somewhere in the exotic (thats right exotic) urban night.
kirks horn wails away in the middle of space
An achievement in improvised music is then evidenced by the bassist placing a savior note and key change just as kirk threateners to disappear into that good and muggy night.

Flute jig melody is gypsy and primal as kirk’s grunts of breath are not only audible but central to the narrative of the tune, a story further unfolding.  The circular dance, whirring around a fire and picasso faces in fast mo comfortable  slows and settles into the finest orchestrated moment of the album:  A bass sound combining all the fine bits of the the electric and acoustic version of the instrument plays an elegant and seemingly simple line.  Oh simple line!  The finesse and pure musicality of the way it is executed is extremely complex!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The strength of the tune balances here on the bass that repeatedly takes a turn upward to a high and righteous note group, bringing the string section with as it sits in a truly regal pose.  The chariot is aloft, back up from its time swung so low.  This is sad and noble, like an accepted goodbye.  Yet,  here comes Rashaan Roland Kirk again,  now desperately scatting around and through some kind of horn,  a guttural language that most whites would peg for African, exotic and angry.  A husband pulls his wife closer and Kirk pulls all this crazy musician shit precisely down to land on a pinhead.
PREPARE THYSELF TO DEAL WITH A MIRACLE is an excellent example of music resting blade to blade on the bleeding edge of existence threatening to come apart at any moment, of extreme exploration of outlying territories tethered only by a respect for harmony, beauty, and gratitude.
More on rhythm in a moment

How can one separate race from Jazz? Can these ideas exist seperately (or equally)?  We ask because we recognize a beauty in the music of Rashaan Roland Kirk, among others,  that we have not heard heretofore achieved by white people.  As white musicians aspiring to the greatness that exists in the best jazz, this is a difficult subject and tender situation.   We are jazz musicians (and decent basketball players).
Engaging jazz, we have to recognize and endeavor to understand on a personal, historical, and global level, the politics of race.  Terrifying.  Why? Because we (peoples, governments, sports teams) are racist yet we flag racism as something that we truly detest.  Moreover, our aversion to racism is the bedrock of our personal political philosophies and good person identity.  Our lack of understanding and empathy toward Black culture at large and jazz in particular finds us accepting as fact the image delivered. <3 <3 <3

We are not kidding ourselves that Jazz is anything other than a Black art form.
We hear the anger.   We (peoples, governments, sport teams) think we are so far away from the slave days.
If we, (you and us), can separate race from music, there can be innovation and quality expansion.  Martin Luther King more or less called for this.

  So here is the problem:  Jazz is a playing experience.  Though a potentially epiphany inducing listening emprise, jazz is best experienced through playing.  And, in doing so, one becomes intimately aware that this music is an education in the possibilites of rhythm (a word we have trouble even spelling).  Rhythm, as such, is not congenital to the white man.  This is why we can’t dance or jump (decent basketball players).  Black musicians will always be better jazz players, they are more NATURALLY inclined to RHYTHM.  Well, isn’t that like saying white people are more NATURALLY inclined to be surgeons?  No, that would be a matter of access.

Luckily, we view appropriation as merely another tool with which to create art.

And here we are finding ways to conceive jazz.  We mean, we have always made music but now we want to call it Jazz.  And we want an African American to hear it and call it jazz.  Jazz is much stronger than painting (who the fuck cares if its a painting if you have to ask?).
Here, in this music, we are confronted by our NATURAL RHYTHM.  Ah enough rope to hang ourselves, both of us.
Rhythm is our ideal, honesty is our deal.  And,  alas, we are not from Compton-none of us are.

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