Amazing documentary on jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk. The name Rahsaan meaning “raw sound”. Rahsaan was blind and paralyzed from his left side. Yet, he displayed more inventiveness than Miles Davis or John Coltrane, and achieved more interesting technical feats (playing 3 saxophones simultaneously) while creating his own compositions, remaining melodic and classical and avoiding the pitfalls of ‘free jazz’ (I’m glad I didn’t pay for that!).
Story is told by an intimate group of friends, family, children, band players, eschewing pedantic jazz critics or Kevin Burns mannerisms. They are all incredibly warm people, deep and poetic, and intensely aware of the spiritual purpose of Rahsaan’s music.
The movie traces Rahsaan’s provocative gestures and musical activism. He and his conspirators high jacked a taping of the Dick Cavett show by playing gun-shaped whistles continuously disrupting the recording. They demanded wider televisual exposure of jazz music. Frequent collaborators included: bassist Charles Mingus, sax player Archie Shepp, and drummer Roy Hanes.
Try this for a zen koan: a documentary about a blind jazz musician and his poetic political vision for music which came to him in dreams.
What does it mean to see, hear, and create?