Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's BĂȘte Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Rahsaan Roland Kirk: his tunes, his virtuosity, his always-hopping bands -- even when the other musicians are people you've never heard of elsewhere, when they were with Rahsaan, they cooked.

The great bandleaders pull hot ensemble work out of every player regardless of individual sparkle. It's a gift -- to us.

The 2 great imperatives of bandleading:

1. The totality has to work. Rhythm, momentum, dynamics, togetherness (or stimulating un-togetherness). Ensemble = together. Every individual builds to the whole.

2. The band sets the individual players a-sparkling. This only works when the players have sparkliness. Some bandleaders pulled greater sparkliness from their musicians than others -- for example, Mingus. The whole provides ideal settings for every individual -- not at every moment, necessarily, but significantly often.

Kirk always achieves the former, usually with players who seem to lack the capacity for making the latter happen.

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