Does Your House Have Lions?

"One day in the late sixties, I was on the phone with Rahsaan and mentioned to him that just that day I bought a house.
He responded by asking, "Does your house have lions?"
I said, "What?"
He said, "Lions, you know like in front of a museum or the post office. You know, concrete lions. My house has lions. Get a house with lions."

--Joel Dorn

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Rahsaanathon coverage on NPR!!!!

The NPR program, "Jazz Night In America" came to this year's "Rahsaanathon" to cover the event, which marked what would've been Rahsaan's 80th birthday.  Listen to the link to hear the music as well as interviews with Kirk's widow, Dorthaan, and musicians Steve Turre and James Carter.  And I'm near the beginning at the one minute mark.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Great article in San Jose Metro about this year's Rahsaanathon

"He would be honored that these great musicians are paying tribute to him," Dorthaan says. "Whatever the afterlife is, I'm sure he knows that he lives on."

Friday, July 17, 2015

Rahsaan's stritch is going to be played for the first time since his passing....

"We are totally rehabilitating Rahsaan's stritch
and James Carter and Charles McNeal are going to play it! This will be
the first time the stritch has been played since 1977 when Rahsaan
died---and I expect it to be the most emotionally intense moment we've
had since we opened Cafe Stritch."

--from Steve Borkenhagen, owner of Cafe Stritch in San Jose

Guys, I don't even know how I'm going to make it through this night with all the tears I'll be shedding.  I never had the chance to see Rahsaan perform, and I can't believe that I'm going to hear his stritch, played for the first time since his passing, in a few weeks!

Please join us for what's going to be an utterly unforgettable week of celebrating Rahsaan!

Here's the complete press release:

RAHSAANATHON 2015:  Press Release

Steve Borkenhagen / Mobile 408 813-5984 / Work 408 280-6161
Maxwell Borkenhagen / Mobile 408 386-7165 / Work 408 280-6161

Tickets for all events are available at

Cafe Stritch is located at 374 South First Street, San Jose, CA 95113 
408 280-6161


The Third Annual Cafe Stritch RAHSAANATHON: A Celebration of the Life and Music of
Rahsaan Roland Kirk

... featuring James Carter and Charles McNeal both playing Rahsaan’s stritch.  This will be the first time Rahsaan’s stritch has been played since his untimely death in 1977 … and where better for the jazz world to hear Rahsaan’s tunes being played on Rahsaan’s stritch than at Cafe Stritch? Carter and McNeal will be accompanying Steve Turre, who was on stage with Rahsaan the last time his stritch was played on December 4, 1977, the night before his death.

RAHSAANATHON 2015 at Cafe Stritch August 4 through August 9, 2015

San Jose, CA – June 23, 2015 – San Jose’s Cafe Stritch is proud to present its Third Annual RAHSAANATHON: A Celebration of the Life and Music of Rahsaan Roland Kirk from Tuesday, August 4 through Sunday, August 9, 2015.

To begin the festivities on August 4 and 5, New York Rahsaan biographer and multi-instrumentalist John Kruth will join New York baritone saxophonist Claire Daly, New York pianist Sonelius Smith (who played with Rahsaan), drummer Howard Wiley, and bassist John Shifflett. This is a musical homage to Rahsaan Roland Kirk in voice and music featuring tunes by RRK, his friends, and other kindred spirits. The concerts will be celebrating Rahsaan, one of the most original jazz artists ever to live.

The RAHSAANATHON’S main event is three nights with trombonist Steve Turre & The Eulipion All Stars, featuring reedman extraordinaire James Carter (tenor / stritch / clarinet / flute).  This ensemble will be reprising their three-night stand from 2014.  The group will be performing Turre’s arrangements of Kirk’s music August 6, August 7 (Rahsaan’s 80th Birthday), and August 8.  Poet Betty Neals, who co-wrote “Theme for the Eulipions”, the house anthem of Cafe Stritch, will perform the song live. The band includes Charles McNeal (alto / stritch / soprano), Matt Clark (piano), Marcus Shelby (bass), Darrell Green (drums), and Terrie Odabi (vocals).

James Carter and Friends will close out the week on August 9.  The quartet includes the unsurpassed James Carter (tenor / stritch / clarinet / flute) joined by Matt Clark (piano), Marcus Shelby (bass), and Darrell Green (drums).

   # # # 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Friday, May 15, 2015

Rahsaan film to be screened in Australia

Friday, April 17, 2015

"Now people say 'circular breathing' but that's not what it is...

....but I let people use that because that's what they say that it is and that's what they have in their minds. But it's something that I thought about as a kid, and by me thinking about it so much and after I went through so much to get to a certain point, it started to come to me. You see, that's why my direction is set. That is my direction. That is what I think I'm going to contribute to the music. It's a non-stop way of playing."

 --RRK, from his last recorded interview

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A beautiful note from facebook...

"Just heard about this film and this fb page. There's just so much to say about Rahsaan. So many folks have something to say about him... I think it's because he reached deep into everyone who listened. For me, every time I saw him play, or listened (I mean put on the head phones and dove into his brilliant offerings) I came out glowing. I came out feeling more and more like all of me was present. HE was so totally present in his music, in every note and phrase that it just lit me up from the inside. So many times I turned to his music when I was struggling within myself for a direction or for clarity, and there was Rahsaan so totally committed to his song, his vision, and his journey. I had a brief conversation with him once and it was all there in his words like it was there in his music. Such a generous vibe and such a ferocious, loving spirit. This was a truly unforgettable cat. Sending love, respect and gratitude."

--Tony Vacca (a performer & musician who left this nice note about Rah on facebook yesterday).

Saturday, February 28, 2015

A warm note from the past....

One day I will post a picture of all the many journals I have kept since 1996, when I began writing about Rahsaan.  But for now, I wanted to share something that I came across the other day.  I recently just moved, and in the process of sorting, unpacking, organizing--a never-ending task--I found an old spiral notebook from 2001.  In it, I had taken notes from a conversation I had with Joel Dorn, (Rahsaan's producer and friend).  I had just sent him the first draft of the book, the first fifty pages or so, and was nervously waiting to hear what he thought of it. 

I remember him calling me.  I was sitting on the staircase of my mother's log cabin.  The first thing he said was that he'd read the whole thing in about half an hour.  I couldn't decide if this was a good thing or not.  But then he told me, "For something that's not a biography, it has the most in-depth view of Rahsaan as a kid that I've read."  He said many other encouraging things to this young, scared writer, things that would buoy me in times of doubt.  He told me that he liked it very much, but that he felt that the end result would be different from what I had written.  He was right. 

I will never stop missing Joel Dorn, but I am so happy that our paths crossed.

Black History Month concluded with a movie screening

Friday, February 20, 2015

Rah film tomorrow night in SF

Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday Quote

"You have to live with whatever you play on your instrument. You have to live with that yourself. It's about bein' true to yourself, too. When I make a record, I know I'll have to live with that record for the rest of my life."--RRK

Friday, February 6, 2015

Friday Quote

"Bright Moments is seein' Richard Nixon out on a street corner in Harlem, tryin' to sell his tapes for fifty cents apiece."


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

West Coast friends--"The Case of The Three Sided Dream" is coming your way!

(from filmmaker Adam Kahan):

We are pleased to be presenting The Case of the Three Sided Dream west of our New York home base this month.
If you are in Missoula Montana this weekend (or need a reason to be) please join us at the Big Sky film festival this Sunday, February 8th.…/case_of_the_three_side…/c/17
From Montana, we head to LA for the Pan African film festival. Three dates - February 12, 15 and 16.…/f…/the-case-of-the-three-sided-dream/
And we finish our February tour in San Francisco, former home of legendary jazz club Keystone Korner, where Rahsaan played regularly. (Also former home of Yours Truly where I learned filmmaking.) We'll be at ATA as part of the Noise Pop festival, on Saturday, February 21st.…/noise-pop-the-case-of-the-three-…
Hope you can join us.
Bright Moments.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Friday quote (a few hours early b/c I will be away tomorrow).

"Kirk was like Mingus:  everything he played had in it the shout, the cry that is the beating heart of black music, a cry of sorrow, of hope, of defiance, of pain.  Not only that but also a greeting, something you shouted out to friends and brothers to let them know you were on your way.  However else jazz changed, that cry had to be there.  Strip the modal thing away and there was swing, behind swing the blues, behind the blues that shout, the field holler of slaves."

--from "But Beautiful", Geoff Dyer

"Sun Ra may have been from Saturn but Rahsaan was a Visitor from The Future." Found this today on YouTube. What a great quote!

Monday, January 26, 2015

This is a repost but it's worthy. It's a great interview with Dorthaan by Charlie Hunter for the "Compared to What" Podcast Series

Episode 21: The Dorthaan Kirk Conversation
Dorthaan Kirk is the heart and soul behind one of the best jazz radio stations in The United States, WBGO out of Newark,New Jersey. A tireless ambassador for jazz and music in general. Dorthaan also happens to be the widow of legendary musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Charlie got to sit down with Dorthaan and talk about what it was like for her to move to Los Angeles as a teenager in the late 50’s. Life with Rahsaan. Her incredible run of work at WBGO and about her letter from “Turkey”. You’ll figure out who “Turkey” is after a little while.  Let it be known that Mowo! is “Turkey Jr.” A beautiful conversation about life and family. For those of you who may not know who Rahsaan is please do yourself a major favor and check out the work of Rahsaan Roland Kirk. You should also check out the work of Dorthaan through WBGO and support the station…….unless of course you want a nation of radio stations playing the same Miley Cyrus song over and over and over and over again. You could also do that. Bright Moments everyone :)  CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO LISTEN TO CHARLIE AND DORTHAAN’s CONVERSATION.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday quote, RRK

"Bright Moments is comin' home late at night or early in the morning from the gig, and if you're real relaxed and it's raining, you can hear the raindrops hit like in clusters.  Chords like little bells in tune with each other...a melting kind of thing.  Bright Moments is also like not bein' afraid when you hear the thunder 'cause you know it's probably Chick Webb and some other drummers playin' up there across the sky."


Friday, January 16, 2015

Friday quote, RRK

"Bright Moments is like waking up one morning and going downstairs
and picking up my two horns and being able to play two different melodies at the same time
and puttin' it on the tape and hearing the results and being scared!"