Two different sides of Kirk:
Selection 1: Once in a While
Selection 2: Slippery, Hippery, and Flippery
Roland Kirk (tenor saxophone, manzello, stritch, flute, siren, oboe, castanets) Jaki Byard (piano) Richard Davis (bass) Elvin Jones (drums) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, January 13, 1965
Allmusic says it all:
Five stars all round. I’ll let Allmusic reviewer Thom Jurek wax lyrical about this album, while I make myself a cup of tea.
“Despite its brevity, Rip, Rig, and Panic may be pre-Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s greatest outing. Kirk is teamed with the most awesome rhythm section he ever recorded with: Clocking in at a mere 36 minutes, Kirk and his quartet moved through a series of musicological changes that defined him as an artist at the time. Five of the seven compositions are his, and reach through each of the phases that Kirk was interested in integrating into his compositional and improvisational voice.
First there is the elegant modal music of “No Tonic Press,” with its non-linear mathematic groove maintained with verve by Jones in all the knotty spots. Then there is the ethereal Middle-Eastern harmony juxtaposed against the changes in “Once in a While” by Bennie Green. But the whole thing comes together by the third tune, when Kirk sifts his hearing of New Orleans music into gear with “From Bechet, Byas, and Fats.” Using his loopy manzello to approximate the soprano saxophone, Kirk and Byard trade fours on some odd open-D modal theme before shifting into the music of Bechet’s time and coming out on tenor with direct quotes from the Don Byas book, with Byard and Davis turning around on a blues motif as Jones double times with a sheet of rim shots.
Through the rest, the set moves consistently more outside, with Kirk flipping instruments and Jones and Davis turning the rhythmic patterns around on Byard, who takes it all in stride and shifts the harmonic levels to Kirk’s intensity on the title track and “Mystical Dream.” The set ends with the bluesy, somnambulant groove of “Slippery, Hippery, and Flippery.” There’s a paranoid opening with Jones running all over the kit, Byard slipping up and down the board, and Kirk making siren sounds before entering his bluesy post-bop nightmare of a jam that winds itself out over studio distortion, Kirk’s noises, and a killer tenor solo that caps everything on the album. Positively smashing”
What else can I say?.
Knotty, Modal, Somnambulant Groove
Kirk makes music out of anything, references every jazz style both past and future, moves effortlessly in and out of any harmonic situation; disdainful of strict tonality, he mixes gruff and strained sounds equally with conventional tone, he introduces found sounds, there is a playfulness like Monk, limitless exuberance and a sense of fun. One of the great figures of jazz, eclectic and full of surprises, an individual in a category of his own. Great.
Cover: UK Alternative cover
The US get a special origami gatefold package – which the UK release sidestepped, you can understand why, all that paper-folding and working with craft knives. Brits get an alternative cover flipback with a nice cover picture of Kirk inset. A US gatefold cover would have been nice but all the UK Limelight series are all economy flipbacks
Vinyl: UK Mercury Limelight Series SLML 4015, first UK release of US Limelight LS86027. No Van Gelder master of course. Philips UK pressing, stereo. If a US copy turned up I would go for the upgrade, as UK Limelight transfers do not sparkle the way they should for a Van Gelder recording.
Source: Central London store,
Among members of the East London Jazz DJ Collective (Giles, its your turn to do the washing up again!) Kirk has a fanatical following, matched in enthusiasm only by Sun Ra worshippers. When you find one Kirk among the new arrivals you can be pretty sure there are four or five others in there too. You don’t have just one Roland Kirk album, you need at least five. Unlike say Jimmy Smith and his 27 albums for Blue Note. Like nutmeg, a little goes a long way. But Kirk…his inventiveness means many satisfying sessions.
MC Kool-Kat says:
I dig Kirk, you dig? This East End DJ collective sound like my kinda guys. To be honest, I’m already bored with North London. Crouch End is not as cool as I thought – hardly anyone actually crouches there anyway. I’ve done with comparing car insurance, hell, Meerkats can’t even drive. I wanna be a DJ: I’ve already bought the hat. Rip Rig Panic, yeah. Modal.