Ed Kirkeby, who is probably best-remembered for being Fats Waller's manager, had a multifaceted and productive life. A born leader, Kirkeby was a successful businessman with a knack for organization. In 1916 he became a salesman at Columbia Records, and the following year he was promoted to assistant recording manager. Kirkeby recorded some of the first jazz at Columbia and in 1920 helped organize the California Ramblers. Within a year, the band was recording regularly and it would be one of the most prolific outfits of the 1920's. Kirkeby started singing on their records in Sep. 1926. A few months later Kirkeby (using the pseudonym of Ted Wallace) became a leader on a series of records usually utilizing personnel from the Ramblers. After the Ramblers declined due to turnover, Kirkeby put a greater focus on his own recordings, recording under such names as Ted Wallace, Ed Kirkeby Wallace, Eddie Lloyd and Eddie Loyd. During 1930-32, Kirkeby directed a countless number of studio sessions for ARC although he largely stopped after July 1932. He then spent a couple years managing the Pickens Sisters. In 1935 he became an A&R person at Victor and, on four sessions with a revived version of the California Ramblers, Kirkeby took some vocals. He also sang on some transcriptions by the Joe Haymes Orchestra and appeared on a final date by Ted Wallace in 1936. In 1938, Kirkeby left Victor and joined the band booking department of NBC. Soon afterward he became Fats Waller's manager, staying with the great pianist-composer until his death in 1943. He spent the remainder of his life as a manager of many groups and personalities including the Deep River Boys, staying active until late 1977. Ed Kirkeby's book Ain't Misbehavin' discusses his years with Fats Waller while the TOM CD Ed Kirkeby Volume One has some of his best recordings from 1927-30.
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