The new Doug’s Picks in the right column include CDs by Roland Kirk and Herb Geller. Kirk’s is a live recording made in Hamburg in 1972. Geller lived in Hamburg then, as he does now. In a coincidence that I don’t possess enough imagination to have made up, Geller attended Kirk’s concert. He read the Rifftides reviews and sent the following message. I have added links to explain some of his references.
I remember Roland Kirk´s concert at the NDR concert hall (the funkhaus). It was the only time I heard him live. It seemed to me at the time he did about 20 minutes of blowing in one breath! Then he started playing two and even three instruments at a time. He even played a few notes of flute and clarinet spontaneously and I almost fell out of my chair. This was of course like a circus act, but he pulled it off. The depth of his music for me was not that enthralling but the physical act itself was incredible.
I didn´t know the other musicians, but after they were announced, the drummer´s name rang a bell, especially since he was Richie Goldberg and black. After they finished, I went to him and told him my name. He jumped up and hugged me, saying he used to be married to Vi Redd, and Lorraine and I had visited them at their home in L.A. I went to Dorsey High School along with Vi and we were good friends there. He introduced me to Roland who told me he admired my playing especially on “Sleighride” and commented that the song had a difficult bridge, (which was why I enjoyed playing it).
Lorraine was Geller’s first wife, a brilliant pianist who is with him on “Sleighride” on the Herb Geller Plays album. She died in 1958, an event that sent him into depression and on an extended trip to escape it. He ended up in Europe, where he has lived, for the most part, ever since.
Amazon offers Herb Geller Plays at an inflated import CD price. The album has not been reissued on CD in the United States, but Verve, which controls the EmArcy catalogue, offers it here as an iTunes download. Those who comprehend that technology may want to investigate.