The Austin Chronicle

SXSW Film Review: 'The Case of the Three Sided Dream'

By Marjorie Baumgarten, March 14, 2014, 11:00am, SXSW

The multi-instrumentalist jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk is the subject of this documentary, which gets its title from one of Kirk’s albums. Often considered to be a novelty act by those who don’t know better, this film seeks to burnish the jazzman’s legacy.

For those unfamiliar with Kirk, who died in 1977, he was known not only for the number of wind instruments he played, but also for the fact that he played them simultaneously – and in harmony. Blinded at birth, Kirk placed a lot of stock in his dreams, and he gave himself the name Rahsaan after hearing it in a dream. Much of his music also has its derivation in his dreams.

Primarily, a tenor sax player, Kirk also was a distinguished flute player, and performed with several instruments strapped around his neck. Several of his instruments were modified in order to accommodate his virtuosity. Inevitably, many observers considered what Kirk did to be a gimmick or a circus stunt, and wrote off his music with barely a listen. The Case of the Three Sided Dream elucidates the artistry in his music and gives Kirk his due.

The Case of the Three Sided Dream

24 Beats Per Second, World Premiere
Saturday, March 15, 1:30pm, Alamo Ritz

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