Rahsaan Roland Kirk and “Rip, rig, and panic”

Roland Kirk 1966


Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s Rip, rig, and panic provides a rich example of irony in jazz, not least for its good-natured sendup of Edgard Varèse.

The work’s multipart form is punctuated by breaking glass, a siren, and Kirk’s multi-instrumental imitations of electronic sounds. Flanked by nonmetric improvisations, its two swing sections are counted down by Kirk on castanets.

In the album’s liner notes Kirk explained the title: “Rip means Rip Van Winkle (or Rest in Peace?). It’s the way people, even musicians are. They’re asleep. Rig means like rigor mortis. That’s where a lot of people’s minds are. When they hear me doing things they didn’t think I could do they panic in their minds.”

This according to “Doubleness and jazz improvisation: Irony, parody, and ethnomusicology” by Ingrid Monson (Critical inquiry XX/2 [winter 1994] pp. 283–313).

Today would have been Kirk’s 80th birthday! Above, performing at Ronnie Scott’s ca. 1969 or 70 (photo © Del de la Haye); below, the 1965 recording.


Filed under Humor, Jazz and blues

3 Responses to Rahsaan Roland Kirk and “Rip, rig, and panic”

  1. Thank you for contacting us! Please let us know if our update is satisfactory.

    • del de la haye

      Yes I am happy with that. I did many photos of Rahsaan on his “inflated tear” Tear tour, I also did a painting of him which although he could not see it he said ” felt good “!
      Originally he wouldn’t talk to me because I am white!
      Thanks del

  2. del de la haye

    the photo used of Roland Kirk was taken at Ronnie Scott’s in about 1969 or 70 by me Del de la Haye and is copyrighted by me..
    My email is delahayephotography@gmail.com to continue using this photo legally please credit me.