Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Rahsaan Roland Kirk - The Case of the Three-Sided Dream in Audio Color [1975]

Jazz musicians count a lot of freaks in their ranks. The most eccentric of them all might be Roland Kirk, and this could be his most far-out recording.
Three-Sided Dream is a concept album, the only true jazz concept album. In jazz, there were many album-length suites (eg. Duke's late 50's LPs) and thematic song collections (eg. Sinatra's "Songs for Swingin' Lovers"), but this is a concept album in a rock sense - united on many different levels, from the artwork and album presentation to the aural snippets joining the songs.
It is well-known that Kirk was very receptive to ideas that came to him in dreams; the most famous one is his trademark ability to play three horns at once. This LP is Kirk's tribute to his source of inspiration - his dreams. There are attempts to represent his dreams "in audio color", as the title would have it - surrealistic conversation bits, musique concrete snippets etc.
The physical presentation of the album is also a part of the concept: Three-Sided Dream is a double LP, but only three sides have music on them, the fourth is a blank 12-minute track with ~30 seconds of conversation at the very end. Each of the three sides is bookended with "Dreams". Unfortunately, digital presentation does not preserve these things.
There are two different versions for each of the tunes, The Entertainer even bearing it in the title ("done in the style of..."). I guess this is an attempt to represent transformations of the familiar pieces in dreams. BTW, Freaks For The Festival is a reworking of Kirk's signature piece "Three for the Festival", named so for the three-horns-at-once theme.
Many of the things Kirk does here would be considered gimmicks by the "real jazzmen" - like tampering with the physical format of the record. So, the aesthetic sensibility is more rock than jazz. But the music itself is pure jazz - electrified and funky, but still real jazz, not fusion or 70s-Miles-style avantgarde.
Highly recommended!

Rahsaan Roland Kirk - The Case of the Three-Sided Dream in Audio Color, 1975
95mb on megaupload or badongo
1. Conversation
2. Bye Bye Blackbird
3. Horses
4. High Heel Sneakers
5. Dream
6. Echoes Of Primitive Ohio And Chili Dogs
7. The Entertainer (Done In The Style Of The Blues)
8. Freaks For The Festival
9. Dream
10. Portrait Of Those Beautiful Ladies
11. Dream
12. The Entertainer
13. Dream
14. Dream
15. Portrait Of Those Beautiful Ladies
16. Dream
17. Freaks For The Festival
18. sesroH
19. Bye Bye Blackbird
20. Conversation


  1. A great artist.
    This one is still (back?) in print and available through Rhapsody.

  2. thanks, got a scratched up copy of this in vinyl so nice to have it again

  3. Oh, this sounds like it'll be far out. Thank you! =)

  4. This is one of the most under-rated musicians in jazz. Truly a remarkable man. Thank you so much for this post. This is one of the best executed concept albums there is!!

    You kick ass for this one!!

  5. What a beautiful album, thank you very much from Peru!!!

  6. I had no idea what a true jazz musician Rahsaan really was!! I have a dvd of him performing at the New Port jazz festival in the early 60's. He had a bunch of saxophones, flutes hanging around his neck then. Wow...what a musician!! Thanks for sharing.

  7. you kill me with this