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The Return of the 5,000 lb. Man: A 75th Birthday Tribute to Rahsaan Roland Kirk

SOURCE: Published: 2010-07-27
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).

  • Dorthaan Kirk and special guests including Steve Turre and Hannibal Lokumbe

  • 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.

General admission is $5 at the door
Donations encouraged
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.

The Rahsaan-a-thon continues on Sat., Aug. 7th on KOOP, 91.7 fm. Please tune in from 1-2pm CST for a special birthday tribute with Dorthaan and May Cobb on Dennis Campa's show, “Adventures in Sound." Streaming online @: koop.org

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