John Kirby

Complete Columbia & RCA Victor Recordings

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AllMusic Review by

The recordings compiled on this two-disc set contain the entire recorded output by John Kirby's sextet between 1939 and 1942. The most amazing thing is, that with the exception of one personnel change, the band retained its membership for the entire run of these sessions. Definitive's collection features excellent biographical liner notes and complete session details, and features better than average sound. Kirby's band that featured soloist Charlie Shavers, Buster Bailey, Russell Procope, Billy Kyle, and O'Neill Spencer was dubbed, "the biggest little band in the world. Due to the tight control Kirby held over arranging for the band -- despite the fact that Shavers was the group's main composer -- that reputation is well deserved, and it is a shame the outfit is not better known. Nonetheless, collectors will be delighted by the selection of tunes here, and newcomers would be well advised to choose these recordings first before investigating further.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:46
2 2:50
3 2:54
4 2:54
5 2:48
6 2:51
7 3:00
8 2:33
9 2:57
10 2:33
11 2:48
12 2:39
13 2:40
14 2:37
15 3:01
16 2:45
17 2:47
18 2:49
19 2:17
20 2:35
21 2:51
22 2:44
23 3:17
24 2:50
25 3:09
26 3:10

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:54
2 2:46
3 2:47
4 2:38
5 2:50
6 2:58
7 2:40
8 2:33
9 2:57
10 2:40
11 2:22
12 2:31
13 2:57
14 2:51
15 2:31
16 2:33
17 3:10
18 2:59
19 3:01
20 2:49
21 2:47
22 2:44
23 3:08
24 2:41
25 2:02
26 2:44
blue highlight denotes track pick