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John Kirby

John Kirby led a most unusual group through the height from the big-band period, a sextet made up of trumpeter Charlie Shavers, clarinetist Buster Bailey, altoist Russell Procope, pianist Billy Kyle, drummer O’Neil Spencer, and his own bass. Although Shavers and Bailey could possibly be quite extroverted, the firmly organized ensembles tended to become extremely cool-toned and introverted however virtuosic. Kirby, originally a tuba participant, turned to bass in 1930 when he became a member of Fletcher Henderson’s Orchestra. He was among the better bassists from the ’30s, using Henderson (1930-1933 and 1935-1936) and Chick Webb’s big music group (1933-1935). By 1937, Kirby experienced his personal group in the Onyx Golf club; Frankie Newton and Pete Dark brown approved through the music group before the staff was arranged. With Maxine Sullivan (Kirby’s wife at that time) offering periodic vocals, the John Kirby Sextet was very popular during 1938-1942. Shavers’ “Undecided” became popular as well as the band’s capabilities to “golf swing the classics” captured on. The sextet steadily declined within the ’40s. Spencer became sick and was changed by Specifications Powell and later on Expenses Beason, Kyle was drafted and Procope was changed by George Johnson. By 1945, after with Shavers’ departure to become listed on Tommy Dorsey, the only real original users still within the group had been Bailey and Kirby himself. The next year the music group disbanded and despite some efforts from the bassist to create another related sextet (including a badly went to Carnegie Hall reunion in 1950), John Kirby was by no means in a position to duplicate his previously successes. Classics offers reissued most of Kirby’s best recordings.

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