August 12, 2000
Verve Master Edition 314 543 833-2
Appending additional material to older LPs when making the transition to CD, raises questions about the appropriateness of jazz archeology. If a certain session was well received as a single disc — as DOMINO certainly was — why suddenly add a surplus of tunes and takes that didn't make the original cut?
The aesthetic argument is that this new material offers a different perspective on how a masterwork was produced and exposes some outstanding cuts that should have been released at the time, but weren't; the pragmatic contention is that the supplementary music helps fill out the session to CD length.
Examples of both these ways of thinking are apparent on this CD.
For a start, most of the music created by Kirk during his short, spectacular lifetime (1936 - 1977) is worth hearing. And the original DOMINO disc — while not as groundbreaking as his later work as Rahsaan Roland Kirk that was influenced by Black Nationalism, psychedelics, R&B, and energy music — is certainly a top-flight effort. A leftfield, hard bop session, it shows that he was already synthesizing new and different ideas at the times. Added to the profusion of horns he played, were oddball song titles, experiments with unconventional sounds and a commitment, before it was fashionable to the jazz tradition.
Kirk's unique flute explosions are also exposed on tunes such as "3-in-1 Without The Oil"; his signature the manzello and stritch showcased throughout — usually in tandem with other horns; and his unappreciated, but powerful tenor saxophone takes centre stage on "Meeting on Termini's Corner" and "E.D."
Plus you get to hear him with two rhythm sections — in Chicago with the cerebral Andrew Hill on piano and in New York with the more earthly pianist Wynton Kelly, plus the combustible Roy Haynes on drums. Furthermore, the new material adds another pigment to the picture, substituting a young Herbie Hancock for Kelly or Hill and retaining Haynes. Five new songs are added to the disc, along with several alternative versions of other tracks. Which is where things start to break down.
Conventions of the day didn't allow the band to really stretch out on the material, so the longest tracks — both of which were initially issued — come in at little more than five minutes, with the majority lasting two or three minutes. It's certainly valuable to have the unissued takes plus Hancock-featured versions of the issued ones, but unless one is a music student, because of length, these renditions don't vary that much from the issued material.
Then there are the alternates. As aural snapshots of Kirk's studio work and how a finished session is sometimes pieced together from other tracks, there's some interest here. But ultimately, hearing three or four versions of the same song, one after another becomes wearying. Just as you've basked in what sounds like a definite Kirk recasting of a tune, there it is again ... and again. A better idea would have been to select one of the many extra versions and leave the rest in the tape library. Subtracting 10 or 15 minutes from the disc's 77 plus running time would still leave it at respectable CD length. In fact, some listeners may decide to "program out" the extra takes.
Anyone who worships at the alter of Kirk will need this record, false starts, aborted takes, alternatives and all. Others, familiar with the reedman's entertaining, yet musically thoughtful way of creating, will appreciate it as well. But for them, the programming function of the CD player may be called into use after a first exposure.
— Ken Waxman
Track Listing: 1. Domino 2. Meeting on Termini's Corner 3. Time* 4. Lament 5. A Stritch in Time 6. 3-in-1 Without the Oil 7. Get Out Of Town 8. Rolando 9. I Believe In You 10. E.D. 11. Where Monk and Mingus Live/Let's Call This 12. Domino - alternative version 13. I Didn't Know What Time It Was 14. I Didn't Know What Time It Was 15. I Didn't Know What Time It Was 16. Someone to Watch Over Me - breakdown take 17. Someone to Watch Over Me 18. Termini's Corner 19. Termini's Corner 20. Termini's Corner 21. Termini's Corner - breakdown take and intercuts 22. When the Sun Comes Out 23. When the Sun Comes Out 24. When the Sun Comes Out 25. Time Races With Emit
Personnel: Roland Kirk (tenor saxophone, flute, manzello, stritch, nose flute, siren whistle, voice); Andrew Hill [tracks 1 - 6] (piano, celeste*); Wynton Kelley [tracks 7 - 10] (piano); Herbie Hancock [tracks 11 - 25] (piano); Vernon Martin (bass); Henry Duncan [tracks 1 - 6] (drums); Roy Haynes [tracks 7 - 25] (drums)