John Kirby

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John Kirby and Buster Bailey, Washington DC, circa May 1946.
Photograph by William P. Gottlieb .

John Kirby (* 31 December 1908 in Winchester , Virginia ; † 14. June 1952 in Hollywood , California ) was an American jazz - bassist , band leader and trombonist and tuba poker players.


John Kirby came to Maryland in 1926 and played there with Chick Webb and Fletcher Henderson (1930-1933, 1935-1936) and played the tuba and later the double bass on several recordings of Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra . In 1937 he founded his own band, a sextet "The Onyx Club Boys", with himself on bass, Charlie Shavers on trumpet , Buster Bailey on clarinet , Russell Procope on alto saxophone , Billy Kyle on piano and O'Neill Spencer on drums . They became one of the few significant "small" bands of the Big Band era and became known through shows (especially in New York City ) and radio recordings. In October 1938 she was the first band to record the song "Undecided" by Sid Robins and Charlie Shavers, which in March 1939 became Kirby's only hit on the Billboard charts (# 19). Kirby also made records with Larry Adler . He tended towards a swing style influenced by the classical period and thus provoked many critics; however, his music made him very popular in the period from 1938 to 1941 due to the good soloists. After World War II , his success waned, and before he could start his planned comeback , he died in 1952.

In 1993, John Kirby was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame .


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