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MUSICIAN Born:

Andy Kirk

In 1929, Kirk formed his band in Kansas City, and remained active until 1948. Their pianist, and the band's arranger, was Mary Lou Williams, who went on to become a prominent figure in her own right. Kirk’s was one of the earliest American bands to use the amplified guitar. One of the band's big hits was "Until The Real Thing Comes Along", a song first heard in the 1932 Revue 'Rhapsody in Black'. Andy was born and raised in Denver, CO. His teacher was Wilberforce Whiteman, father of Paul Whiteman. In 1921, Andy played tuba in George Morrison's Orch. in Denver, Colorado. In 1925, he moved to Dallas, Texas, where he played (doubling on baritone and bass saxophones) with Terrence Holder's 'Dark Clouds of Joy' orchestra, and in 1928, Andy took over as leader of Holder's first orchestra, moving the band to Kansas City, MO, for an engagement at Kansas City's prestigious Pla-Mor Restaurant

Sex & Drugs & Jazz & Jive: Top Ten Stash Records Albums

Read "Sex & Drugs & Jazz & Jive: Top Ten Stash Records Albums" reviewed by Chris May

With all the transgressive flair you would expect of bohemian New York City in the 1970s and 1980s, Bernie Brightman's Stash Records made its name with a hugely entertaining series of sex and drugs-themed compilations of swing-era recordings. The first was Reefer Songs in 1976. But Brightman's legacy extends much further. There was a finite amount ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

Kansas City and the Territory Bands (1927 - 1940)

Read "Kansas City and the Territory Bands (1927 - 1940)" reviewed by Russell Perry

Outside of the Chicago—New York nexus, jazz thrived during the late 1920's and 1930's in Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas, with its center in Kansas City. Under the careful control of Boss Pendergast, Kansas City was a wide open town with a thriving night club music scene, nurturing musicians like Joe Turner, Mary Lou Williams, Count Basie, ...

ARTICLE: UNDER THE RADAR

Blue Highways and Sweet Music: The Territory Bands, Part II

Read "Blue Highways and Sweet Music: The Territory Bands, Part II" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

Part 1 | Part 2 Part 1 of Blue Highways and Sweet Music: The Territory Bands looked at the roots, drivers and challenges of the travelling groups who brought jazz music to the non-urban areas of the Southern Plains, through one-night-stands, in often impromptu venues. A black phenomenon, often misappropriated by white musicians, promoters, ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

The Glenn Crytzer Orchestra: Ain't It Grand?

Read "Ain't It Grand?" reviewed by Jack Bowers

As Karen Carpenter once sang, it's “yesterday once more"--at least it is whenever and wherever the gregarious Glenn Crytzer Orchestra springs into action. Crytzer's ensemble not only revitalizes songs from the long-ago Swing Era of the 1920s, '30s and '40s, its high-stepping two-CD set, Ain't It Grand?, even sounds as though it were recorded in those ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Mary Lou Williams: Mary Lou Williams At Rick's Cafe Americain

Read "Mary Lou Williams At Rick's Cafe Americain" reviewed by Chris Mosey

The second album of this double CD issue was released by Storyville in 1998, under the same title. Valuable enough in its way, featuring pianist Mary Lou Williams three years before her death, playing standards that include one of her own, “What's Your Story, Morning Glory?," originally composed for the Andy Kirk band in the days ...

NEWS: RADIO

A Brief History of Mary Lou Williams

Does anybody embody the history of 20th-century jazz as much as Mary Lou Williams? The arc of her career extends from the territory bands and Kansas City swing of the 1930s to the heights of the big-band era, the bebop movement of the 1940s, the American expatriate jazz of the post-World War II era, the sacred-jazz ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Randy Weston: African Stories, African Rhythms

Read "Randy Weston: African Stories, African Rhythms" reviewed by Ian Patterson

In over 60 years as a leader, pianist Randy Weston has achieved an incredible amount. He has recorded nearly 50 albums and has been hailed in the process as the natural heir to Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk. Three times he has been voted Downbeat's composer of the year, and his compositions have been recorded by ...

Twelve Clouds of Joy with Mary Lou Williams

Label: ASV Living Era
Released: 1994

Mary's Idea

Label: CBS/Sony
Released: 1993


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