Update On Links

March 18, 2013 - I'm now using various file sites with varying success. With over 200 albums listed here, obviously I cannot upload everything at once. So if you're dying to hear something, please post a comment on that particular post and I will move it up in the priority queue. Enjoy!

Any posts taken down as a result of the sniveling coward will be re-upped. Check the link below for where to find them in the event that this site is unable to repost them. Don't forget to bookmark http://whereismrvolstead.blogspot.com/ in the event that the internet terrorists shut this page down.

13 October 2009

Rehearsin' For A Nervous Breakdown

Here's one that I haven't listened to in a while, which upon listening to it this week, I believe deserves more attention. It turns out that I had scanned the images at some point, so they're included in the file. I'm far from an expert, so here's what Wiki has to say: Kirby was born in Winchester, Virginia. In 1926, he moved to Baltimore, Maryland, a town he is still linked to by some. He played with Chick Webb and Fletcher Henderson. In the early 1930s, he performed some amazingly complicated tuba work on a number of Henderson's recordings. In an unusual move, Kirby picked up on the double-bass at the time when tuba was falling out a favor as the orchestra's primary bass instrument (few tuba players continued their role in the orchestra by switching to double-bass).

Kirby started his own band in 1937. The John Kirby Sextet, known as "The Onyx Club Boys" (usually including Kirby 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) would become one of the more significant "small groups" in a Big band era and had the first recording of Shavers' song "Undecided". Vocals were often performed by Maxine Sullivan, who also became Kirby's wife.

Kirby tended toward a lighter, classically-influenced style of jazz, which has both strong defenders and ardent critics. He was very prolific and popular from 1938-1941. After World War II his career declined and he died in Hollywood, California, just before a planned comeback. In 1993 he was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame.

Unlike other then-popular "novelty" jazz groups (like Raymond Scott), the Kirby Sextet is not particularly well remembered today, although in New York, the Wayne Roberts Sextet (formerly the 'Onyx Club Sextet') pays tribute, and in France it is commemorated by the band 'Kirby Memory', with vocals by Flora Sicot. His small group light jazz style is a great example of how swing can also be elegant.
Enjoy. +


1. Rehearsin' For A Nervous Breakdown
2. From A Flat To C
3. Pastel Blue
4. Undecided
5. By The Waters Of Minnetonka
6. It Feels So Good
7. Effervescent Blues
8. The Turf
9. Dawn On The Desert
10. Anitra's Dance
11. Sweet Georgia Brown
12. Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes
13. Minute Waltz
14. Front And Center
15. Royal Garden Blues
16. Opus 5
17. Fantasy Impromptu
18. Blue Skies
19. Rose Room (In Sunny Roseland)
20. I May Be Wrong (But I Think You're Wonderful)
21. Little Brown Jug
22. Nocturne


mel said...

Thanks, Chester - I have many of these tracks on other CDs but not all. Thank you for helping me fill up the holes.

Chester Proudfoot said...

You're welcome!

Morris said...

Thanks Chester for this great post. He is an artist that I have noly discovered in the past year and I love his work. Didn't have this one so it is very welcome!


BTW - I just started a new site, and I would love for you to visit. Just send me an email and I will give you the site.

neil said...

Many thanks for the opportunity to hear the biggest 'Little Band' in the world!
PS: there actually is a John Kirby album titled "Rehearsing for a Nervous Breakdown"...