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A 75th Birthday Tribute to Rahsaan Roland Kirk

Published: 2010-07-03
Rahsaan Roland Kirk A friend of mine once asked me, “What's so great about Roland Kirk?" I told him, “If a five-thousand pound man was coming to town, would you go see him?" --Joel Dorn, Rahsaan's longtime friend and producer.

Rahsaan Roland Kirk (Aug. 7th, 1935-Dec. 5th, 1977) was a jazz multi-instrumentalist best known for his miraculous ability to play three saxophones simultaneously. Kirk defied staggering odds in his all-too-brief life--from blindness to critical prejudice to a paralyzing stroke--in order to play the music that came to him through dreams. His music, once ahead of its time, now seems timeless. Since his death thirty years ago, his legend has only continued to grow.

In honor of his 75th birthday, Kirk's family, friends, and fans will celebrate the life of the legendary jazz giant in Austin, on August 6, 2010, at The Elephant Room. Hosted and presented by May K. Cobb, and sponsored by KOOP radio 91.7 FM, this promises to be a memorable evening honoring one of our greatest jazz musicians & composers. Cobb, an Austin-based writer who has spent the past several years researching Kirk's life for a new biography, said this about the event,

“I'm honored to have a hand in creating this homage to Rahsaan. With Dorthaan's blessing and enormous help, it should be a very magical evening. To me, he is one of the most innovative and important musicians who's ever lived, but one of the most overlooked. The Austin Jazz Workshop performs his music beautifully, and hopefully this event will help, even in some small way, to keep his name alive."

The evening will include:
  • Kirk's music, performed by the AJW Sextet, featuring Alex Coke (flutes and sax), director Mike Melinger(sax), and Floyd Domino (piano), with surprise appearances.

  • Dorthaan Kirk and special guests

  • Live concert footage

  • Gift bags to the first 100 people and a midnight birthday countdown
Proceeds from the evening will go to The Austin Jazz Workshop, a nonprofit organization that brings jazz musicians directly into public school classrooms. In '08-'09 AJW performed Kirk's music in 118 Austin schools and recorded Mystery Note, a tribute album to Kirk that was released in 2009. Copies of Mystery Note will be available at the event.

General admission is $5 at the door with donations welcome throughout the evening. The Elephant Room is at 315 Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas 78701

The first set begins @9:30pm. Please arrive early, as seating is limited.


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