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Andy Kirk: An Introduction to Andy Kirk

Kirk’s group ranked among the best Kansas City/Southwestern big bands, as this CD, containing 1929-46 material, illustrates. It was a relaxed, swinging outfit that featured the arrangements of pianist Mary Lou Williams. Kirk also had a popular crooner in Pha Terrell, heard here on the hit, “Until the Real Thing Comes Along.” Notable soloists included Williams, and Dick Wilson, one of the finest tenor sax-men in the Coleman Hawkins school. Among Kirk’s trumpeters were Harold Baker, who had a big, gorgeous tone, and two men who were to become among the greatest bop stylists, Howard McGhee and Fats Navarro. McGhee’s not yet a bopper, but he’s very modern for 1942 on his feature “McGhee Special.” And check out Navarro’s short but majestic solo on the forgotten “Doggin’ Man Blues.” Some of Kirk’s best known performances are included here as well, including “Little Joe from Chicago,” “Floyd’s Guitar Blues,” one of the early recorded examples of jazz electric guitar playing by Floyd Smith, “Scratchin’ in the Gravel’ and “Boogie Woogie Cocktail.”

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