Apart from Turre's "One For Kirk" these are all Rahsaan Roland Kirk compositions. It says something about Rahsaan's prowess that the arrangements, such as the opening "One For The Festival," need three horn players to emulate the sound Kirk produced by himself, playing three horns-the tenor, the manzello and the stritch-simultaneously. The soloists are all their own men, however, and do not appear in any sense intimidated. Herring is a strong player whose soprano occasionally hints at the piquancy of Kirk's manzello sound, while reflecting all that has transpired in jazz since Rahsaan's time. Carter's muscular tenor is also distinctive and uncompromising, cutting loose with particular vigor on "Volunteered Slavery." (Playing tenor on a Rahsaan tribute must be as daunting as replacing Joe Montana with the 49ers.) It is Turre, however, who perhaps most fully reflects Rahsaan's influence. "Rahsaan turned me on to the lineage," he writes in the album notes. "He made me realize that as far back as you go will directly influence how far forward you can go." Kirk had his band play every style of jazz from New Orleans through bebop via everything in between, so if we can hear Vic Dickenson, Dickie Wells, Trummy Young and Jack Teagarden in Turre's playing, as well as Kid Ory and J.J. Johnson, this stems from Turre's time with Kirk. But none of it is superficially grafted on, it has all been absorbed and fashioned into the archetypal jazz trombone sound.
This sound is evident throughout the recording, as Turre demonstrates clearly why he continues to top the trombone polls. In addition, his arrangements and his selection of material, capture the spirit of Rahsaan's music as he pays tribute to him. The sextet are right there with him throughout, driven by a rhythm section anchored by another Kirk alumnus, bassist Buster Williams. And Dave Valentin's cameo appearance on the "Serenade To A Cuckoo/Bright Moments" medley, with his powerful reminder of the shouting-humming flute sound that Kirk popularized, adds another dimension to a highly satisfying album.
I am sure that Turre will be happy if people buy his CD, but he will probably be equally gratified if it directs some younger jazz fans to the original recordings of one of American music's great originals-Rahsaan Roland Kirk. You would do well to do both!