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The Complete Associated Transcriptions Vol.3 1943-44

John Kirby

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Album Review

The third of three CDs that reissue all of the John Kirby Sextet's radio transcriptions, this disc is as enjoyable as the first two. The personnel of the band had changed a bit since its beginning days. Drummer O'Neill Spencer had been forced into retirement due to tuberculosis and was replaced by Bill Beason. Pianist Billy Kyle had departed and altoist Russell Procope was in the military, so their places were taken by altoist George Johnson (a very underrated but excellent player) and pianist Clyde Hart. Also on the second half of this CD, the addition of tenor saxophonist Don Byas made the group a septet. Trumpeter Charlie Shavers, clarinetist Buster Bailey, and bassist-leader John Kirby were still in the group, and the band's unique sound remained unchanged. Fortunately so did its quality as can be heard on such tightly arranged numbers as "Comin' at the Zombie," "Peanut Vendor," "Amor," "Taking a Chance on Love," "Desert Night," and "Kansas City Caboose." Acquire the three discs in this series and the three Classics CDs of the group's studio recordings, and one will have the complete John Kirby Sextet, a desirable acquisition for fans of small-group swing.

Biography

Born: 31 December 1908 in Baltimore, MD

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s

John Kirby led a most unusual group during the height of the big-band era, a sextet comprised 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 be quite extroverted, the tightly arranged ensembles tended to be very cool-toned and introverted yet virtuosic. Kirby, originally a tuba player, switched to bass in 1930 when he joined Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra. He was one...
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The Complete Associated Transcriptions Vol.3 1943-44, John Kirby
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