Recorded on May 19 and September 26, 1941, bassist and arranger John Kirby fronts his classic sextet on 21 compositions ranging from originals to Ellington to Chopin and Liszt. These sessions took place when Kirby was at the height of his popularity, second in line only to the Benny Goodman Sextet in jazz polls. However, by the end of 1946, Kirby's popularity dwindled to the point where he would never record again. This is a great band of the time featuring Charlie Shavers on trumpet, Buster Bailey on clarinet, Russell Procope on alto saxophone, Billy Kyle on piano, with Kirby, Shavers, and Kyle also arranging. The classical pieces, "Serenade," "Ebony Rhapsody," and "Minute Waltz," were recorded due to an ASCAP ban going on at the time. Since songs protected by ASCAP couldn't be recorded during the strike, musicians were forced to look toward material that fell into public domain.
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AllMusic Review by Al Campbell