Jazz Lead Sheets

Three For The Festival - Rahsaan Roland Kirk

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Three For The Festival
Rahsaan Roland Kirk
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Concert key: G minor
Style: Medium up swing

Recording Information: Recorded on August 17, 1961, and first released on "We Free Kings" / Roland Kirk (Mercury MG 20679).

  • Tenor Saxophone, Manzello, Stritch - Rahsaan Roland Kirk
  • Piano - Hank Jones
  • Bass - Wendell Marshall
  • Drums - Charli Persip [drum transcription]

Description: It's true (and amazing) that this three-horn arrangement was originally recorded by just one man (Rahsaan Roland Kirk) playing three horns simultaneously. However, you can use three horn players as Steve Turre did. Lester Bowie even used more horns. The number of horns really doesn't matter, as long as your group can create three-part harmony--a piano alone could cover it. Rahsaan's arrangement is one of those simple yet profound masterpieces that can be played by any group. It's even a perfect learning tool for young players. We're providing 1st part, 2nd part and 3rd part editions. It is also a great feature for your drummer (click here for more details).

Historical Notes: Rahsaan Roland Kirk had recorded three previous albums: his first on November 9, 1956; then one on June 7, 1960; and the third on July 11, 1961, just a little over a month before our recording. The July recording was his first for Mercury Records. Shortly after its release, Joel Dorn (later to become Rahsaan's producer for Atlantic Records), a disc jockey for WHAT, a 24-hour jazz radio station in Philadelphia, had time to play one short cut before the news. By chance he picked a new single supplied to the radio station, Three For The Festival, and was thus introduced to the amazing Roland Kirk. "I thought, 'Wow!' This is wild!' Then a minute later the phone lit up!" Dorn is quoted as saying. The following year, Rahsaan played the Newport Jazz Festival and opened his set with Three For The Festival. It was one of his most popular numbers. The following year (1963) he was filmed performing it on his "Live In Holland - 1963" Jazz Icons DVD. There's also currently (2012) a 1973 performance from Bologna, Italy, on YouTube.