He played all sorts of woodwind and reed instruments: saxophones, clarinets, flutes, harmonicas, English horn, among others. Oh, and sometimes he played more than one saxophone or flute at a time–and it didn’t sound like rush hour traffic (unless he wanted it to, I guess).

Hmmm. I understand there are talented folks out there who double and triple and all that, but I’ve never known anyone to play two instruments at once. I’m guessing the writer meant that the musician could play the different saxes and flutes …? (Read here.)

Update
Having heard from the person who wrote the article, I can now say the guy did play more than one instrument at once. See for yourself. Unfortunately you can’t hear for yourself!

Update #2
It appears that one can hear him by clicking on a link at Wikipedia, but it didn’t work for me. So more searching took me to this and yes indeed, the guy plays more than one instrument at the same time. (You have to get through a bit of the video to get to the clip.)

Not my kind of music, but still … pretty amazing.

5 Comments

  1. pennylrichards

    Nope, I really meant playing more than one instrument at a time–as in, having more than one sax mouthpiece in his mouth simultaneously. There are pictures and videos of him doing this. Here’s a still of him playing three at once:

    www.step.no/music/images/RolandKirk.jpg

  2. Thanks so much for filling me in, Penny! As you can see if you check, I’ve posted a couple of updates under the original blogpost. :-)

  3. Jeannette Clemons

    He was a truly amazing player and was featured the other night on WGBH with a recording of him playing a duet with himself….and I do struggle with one instrument at a time…

  4. Jeannette Clemons

    Oh…the recording I heard was “Multihorn Variations” from the Man who Cried Fire. Listening to WGBH (Boston NPR) that has all night JAZZ has been an AMAZINGLY educational experience…I can tune in ANY time and probably hear something I have never heard before…

  5. Yup, I saw Kirk several nights in a row, in 1969-70 at Lennie’s On The Turnpike, Danvers, MA. He would get three horns going and squeeze an old car horn under his arm and knee bell trees. Two of the usual suspect horns were called a Manzello and Stritch if I remember rightly, but he never co-played with a flute (on which he invented a whole style, often copied). He was a transcendent musical human, and as earthy as they come. My favorite album is “I Talk With The Spirits” on Limelight.