Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Andy Kirk 1940-1942
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Pop
Bandleader Andy Kirk, in a bluesy mood
Joe Sixpack -- Slipcue.com | ...in Middle America | 03/05/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Jazz critic Scott Yanow (whose writing I greatly admire) tartly disparages bandleader Andy Kirk's late '30s recordings due to the presence of "pop singer" Pha Terrell, the voice behind one of the band's biggest commercial hits in the late 1930s. To Yanow, these vocal numbers are a distraction from the tremendous compositional and instrumental power at the band's disposal, and away from the hard jazz that Kirk and his pianist/arranger Mary Lou Williams were able to produce. As a fan of "sweet" big band music and big band-era vocals, though, I would like to offer a voice of dissent: Pha Terrell was a smooth, sly, entirely enjoyable crooner, and these recordings are actually quite nice. On this particular volume, set in the early years of WWII, Pha Terrell had finally left the band, to be replaced by vocalists June Richmond and Henry Wells; Richmond's husky but uninspired vocals may get on your nerves after a while. The band is still ahead of the pack, though, turning towards a rugged R&B style not unlike that of Earl Hines or Count Basie. This more aggressive approach starts sounding brassy and shrill after a while, but there are still plenty of gems on this disc, and Kirk was definitely ahead of his time, pioneering the bluesy dance style that many black bands would adopt in the post-big band era after World War Two. Recommended!"