Billy Kyle

1937-1938

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Pianist Billy Kyle spent most of his career as a sideman (most notably with John Kirby's Sextet and the Louis Armstrong All-Stars) and led relatively few sessions, all of which were formerly rare. That fact makes this CD reissue a major event for small-group swing collectors. Kyle's eight selections from 1937 with his "Swing Club Band" (which hints at times at the Kirby group) include two vocals apiece by the Palmer Brothers and Leon Lafell, but are most notable for the playing of trumpeter Charlie Shavers and altoist Tab Smith on the instrumentals. In addition, Kyle is prominent with the Spencer Trio (a group with clarinetist Buster Bailey and drummer O'Neil Spencer), Timme Rosenkrantz's Barrelhouse Barons (which include cornetist Rex Stewart, trombonist Tyree Glenn, tenorman Don Byas, and singer Inez Cavanaugh), and with Jack Sneed & His Sneezers. Sneed was a jazz-influenced calypso singer who was wise enough to use a backup quartet (which included Shavers) taken from the Kirby sextet. Overall, an excellent set of rarities.

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