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Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Sonny Rollins and Nina

Posted by Geoff Edgers  April 7, 2011 03:14 PM

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cache_jazz-icons-3-the-boxed-set-7-dvds_w150.pngSometimes, you just get lucky. That happened yesterday when I was in an editor’s office, let my eyes wander over the bookshelves and spotted volume 3 of the “Jazz Icons” box set. It features live performances from European TV shows in the ’50s and ‘60s of Roland Rahsaan Kirk, Sonny Rollins, Lionel Hampton, Cannonball Adderley, Oscar Peterson and Nina Simone. I didn’t get a chance to watch all the DVDs, but did show our daughter Rahsaan at his peak because, well, she needs to know. There he is, blowing three horns at once, tossing in the nose flute, proving to be the master of circular breathing that should have landed him in the Guinness Book of World Records. My wife, never much of a Rahsaan fan, could marvel at Sonny’s incredible command during a 1959 performance from Sweden. Just imagine, he was not yet 30. Then, there’s the bearded Sonny in 1968, juking through “St. Thomas.” I love Nina Simone. And watching her explain her anger to the Scandinavian host before a searing version of “Mississippi Goddam” is priceless. Tonight, on to Cannonball.

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About Exhibitionist Geoff Edgers covers arts news for The Boston Globe..
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