Cover image for Bright moments : the life & legacy of Rahsaan Roland Kirk
Bright moments : the life & legacy of Rahsaan Roland Kirk
Kruth, John.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Welcome Rain Publishers, 2000.
Physical Description:
404 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML419.K584 K78 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Rahssan Roland Kirk was one of the most unique and colorful creators in music. Such imagination. Such a creative individual. He was awesome, at the top of my list. Quincy Jones

Author Notes

John Kruth is a musician and writer of poetry and short fiction, contributor to Rolling Stone, Musician, and Sing Out!, and co-producer with legendary music producer Joel Dorn of a three-CD box set of Rahsaan's rare live tracks, Dog Years in the Fourth Ring. He lives in New York City

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Kruth brings a musician's appreciation to Kirk's genius, rendering life to a biography of a man who was larger than life. For insight into a man whose talent was often underappreciated because of the excesses of his stage performances, Kruth interviewed Kirk's contemporaries--Quincy Jones, Yusef Lateef, Sonny Rollins. Kirk, blind since childhood, brought a particular sensitivity to what he preferred to call black classical music rather than jazz. His competitive instincts, coupled with a voracious appetite for food and other excesses of the time, rendered Kirk a big, blind black man, unapologetic and outspoken. Kirk recognized and resented the disparate treatment between the creators of the music and the popular imitators who benefited from the art form. Kruth commands the uninitiated reader to explore Kirk's muse, and those more familiar with the man to revisit Kirk's adventures through sound. Freed by his death from the distractions of his persona and stage performances, Kirk's bright moments--the music he played without bounds or limitations--shine through. --Vernon Ford

Library Journal Review

Kruth, a musician and journalist, has written the first full-length biography of multi-instrumental jazz icon Kirk (1936-77). Using dozens of interviews and a just-unearthed audio autobiography narrated by Kirk, Kruth traces Kirk's life from his childhood in Columbus, OH, to his mid-career vocal black-power stance, to his debilitating stroke and premature death in the mid-1970s. Throughout, Kruth highlights Kirk's pioneering efforts--such as his reintroduction of the stritch and manzello saxophones and his innovative circular breathing that enabled him to play several instruments simultaneously. Though he sometimes overstates Kirk's admittedly prodigious talents, Kruth offers a revealing biography that captures a complex jazz artist. He portrays Kirk as an original steeped in tradition, open to all types of sound but critical of rock'n'roll, a jolly prankster who humiliated his audiences, and a serious jazz player who destroyed chairs as part of his stage act. This engaging biography about an often-neglected talent will be welcomed by general readers as well as jazz scholars.--David P. Szatmary, Univ. of Washington, Seattle (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

The Revenge of the 5000 Lb. Manp. 1
Echoes of Primitive Ohiop. 9
The Seekerp. 23
Here Comes the Whistlemanp. 40
Rip, Rig and Panicp. 57
The Black Stickp. 69
The Electric Marshmallows versus the Sightless Pioneer From the 4th Ringp. 74
Classical Jazzicalp. 90
Three for Monkp. 107
Hip Chopsp. 110
Hog Calls, Little Prayers, and a Lotta Frogsp. 129
Kingus Mingusp. 135
The Black and Crazy Bluesp. 144
A Mouthful of Fivesp. 158
Triple Threatp. 163
Blacknuss (or One Sunny Thing Happened That Night)p. 173
Serenade to a Kook (or Two)p. 187
Blind Man's Moviep. 203
Say Good-bye to Your Mindp. 214
We're Only In It for the Porkchopsp. 224
Habaop. 229
Bright Moments in Frownlandp. 233
The Dance of Revolutionp. 235
Radio Free Rahsaanp. 251
The Name Gamep. 256
Volunteered Slaveryp. 261
The Bottomless Evening of a Day on Endp. 265
Strange Weekend in Syracusep. 269
Life and Death--All in One Breathp. 273
Tenor Badnessp. 283
Mo' Momentsp. 286
The Case of the 3 Sided Dream in Audio Colorp. 290
Freaks for the Festivalp. 297
Sun/Rahp. 314
Over the Hump to Eulipiap. 317
That Old Rugged Crossp. 326
Harder and Harder Spiritualp. 340
Boogie-Woogie String Along Foreverp. 349
Queen/Mayor/Nurse Nightingale/Dorthaanp. 353
The Invisible Whipp. 361
17 Saskatoons or Welcome to the Rahsaanaissancep. 372
Never Can Say Good-byep. 374
Discographyp. 375
Kirk's Confectionary (A Guide to Rahsaan's Musical Instrument Arsenal)p. 385
Acknowledgmentsp. 387
Sourcesp. 389
Bibliographyp. 391
Indexp. 393