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Andy Kirk

Andrew Dewey Kirk (May 28, 1898 – December 11, 1992) was a jazz saxophonist and tubist who led the Twelve Clouds of Joy, a band popular during the swing era.

Kirk grew up in Denver, Colorado, where he was tutored by Wilberforce Whiteman, Paul Whiteman's father. Kirk started his musical career playing with George Morrison's band, but then went on to join Terrence Holder's Dark Clouds of Joy. In 1929 he was elected leader after Holder departed. Renaming the band Clouds of Joy, Kirk also relocated the band from Dallas, Texas, to Kansas City, Missouri. Although named the Clouds of Joy, the band has also been known as the Twelve Clouds of Joy due to the number of musicians in the band. They set up in the Pla-Mor Ballroom on the junction of 32nd and Main in Kansas City and made their first recording for Brunswick Records that same year. Mary Lou Williams came in as pianist at the last moment, but she impressed Brunswick's Dave Kapp, so she became a member of the band.

Kirk moved the band to Kansas City, and since their first recordings in 1929–1930, they grew popular as they epitomized the Kansas City jazz sound. In mid-1936, he was signed to Decca and made scores of popular records until 1946. He presumably disbanded and reformed his band during that 6-year recording layoff, as his 1929–1930 Brunswick appeared to have sold well enough to stay in the catalog through the period and 1933-34 pressings (with the mid-1930s label variations) have been seen.

In 1938, Kirk and band held the top spot of the Billboard chart for 12 weeks with "I Won't Tell a Soul (I Love You)", written by Hughie Charles and Ross Parker, featuring Pha Terrell on vocals. In 1942, Kirk and His Clouds of Joy recorded "Take It and Git", which on October 24, 1942, became the first single to hit number one on the Harlem Hit Parade, the predecessor to the Billboard R&B chart. In 1943, with June Richmond on vocals, he had a number 4 hit with "Hey Lawdy Mama".

Birth and Death Data: Born May 28th, 1898 (Newport), Died December 11th, 1992 (New York City)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1929 - 1945

Roles Represented in DAHR: leader, bass saxophone, tuba, composer, saxophone

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 134 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Brunswick C4470 10-in. 4/30/1930 Snag it Andy Kirk ; Twelve Clouds of Joy Jazz/dance band leader  
Brunswick C4471 10-in. 4/30/1930 Sweet and hot Andy Kirk ; Twelve Clouds of Joy Jazz/dance band leader  
Brunswick C4472 10-in. 5/1/1930 Snag it Andy Kirk ; Twelve Clouds of Joy Jazz/dance band leader  
Brunswick C4473 10-in. 5/1/1930 Mary’s idea Andy Kirk ; Twelve Clouds of Joy Jazz/dance band leader  
Brunswick C4480 10-in. 5/1/1930 Once or twice Andy Kirk ; Twelve Clouds of Joy Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo leader  
Brunswick C6177 10-in. 9/30/1930 Okay, baby Andy Kirk ; Twelve Clouds of Joy Jazz/dance band leader  
Brunswick C6178 10-in. 9/30/1930 Dallas blues Andy Kirk ; Twelve Clouds of Joy Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo leader  
Brunswick C6430 10-in. 10/9/1930 Dallas blues Andy Kirk ; Twelve Clouds of Joy Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo leader  
Brunswick C6431 10-in. 10/9/1930 Travelin’ that rocky road Andy Kirk ; Twelve Clouds of Joy Jazz/dance band leader  
Brunswick C6432 10-in. 10/9/1930 Honey, just for you Andy Kirk ; Twelve Clouds of Joy Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo leader  
Brunswick C6435 10-in. 10/9/1930 You rascal you Andy Kirk ; Seven Little Clouds Of Joy Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo leader  
Brunswick C4460-C4461 10-in. 4/29/1930 I lost my gal from Memphis Andy Kirk ; Twelve Clouds of Joy Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo leader  
Brunswick C4462-C4463 10-in. 4/29/1930 Loose ankles Andy Kirk ; Twelve Clouds of Joy Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo leader  
Brunswick KC591 10-in. Nov. 1929 Mess-a-stomp Andy Kirk ; Twelve Clouds of Joy Jazz/dance band leader  
Brunswick KC592 10-in. Nov. 1929 Blue clarinet stomp Andy Kirk ; Twelve Clouds of Joy Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo composer, leader  
Brunswick KC593 10-in. Nov. 1929 Cloudy Andy Kirk ; Twelve Clouds of Joy Jazz/dance band composer, leader  
Brunswick KC594 10-in. Nov. 1929 Casey Jones special Andy Kirk ; Twelve Clouds of Joy Jazz/dance band composer, leader  
Brunswick KC595 10-in. Nov. 1929 Casey Jones special Andy Kirk ; Twelve Clouds of Joy Jazz/dance band composer, leader  
Brunswick KC596 10-in. Nov. 1929 Casey Jones special Andy Kirk ; Twelve Clouds of Joy Jazz/dance band, with male vocal duet leader  
Brunswick KC597 10-in. Nov. 1929 Casey Jones special Andy Kirk ; Twelve Clouds of Joy Jazz/dance band composer, leader  
Brunswick KC618 10-in. Nov. 1929 Corky stomp Andy Kirk ; Twelve Clouds of Joy Jazz/dance band composer, leader  
Brunswick KC619 10-in. Nov. 1929 Froggy Bottom Andy Kirk ; Twelve Clouds of Joy Jazz/dance band leader  
Brunswick KC620 10-in. Nov. 1929 Froggy Bottom Andy Kirk ; Twelve Clouds of Joy Jazz/dance band leader  
Brunswick E35750 10-in. 12/15/1930 Saturday Andy Kirk ; Twelve Clouds of Joy Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo leader  
Brunswick E35751 10-in. 12/15/1930 Sophomore Andy Kirk ; Twelve Clouds of Joy Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo leader  
(Results 1-25 of 134 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Kirk, Andy," accessed December 5, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/105570.

Kirk, Andy. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved December 5, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/105570.

"Kirk, Andy." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 5 December 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/105570

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