Posts tagged John Kirby & His Orchestra
Soul Station Feature: John Kirby & His Orchestra


Bassist John Kirby led a successful sextet for nearly 8 years. It had great original material, much of it furnished by trumpeter Charlie Shavers. The group also had a very original way of playing and breaking down pop hits that had already been successful by other artists, usually outside the jazz field. Such is the case with the band's marvelous arrangement of Temptation. It was originaly from the 1933 film Going Hollywood and was very popularized by Bing Crosby in the same year. The Kirby version adds a blue mood to the song that really wasn't there before. Some of this comes from a five note bass line Kirby plays (it starts at 0:16); Though a very simple line, it has resonance with another song, a hit, from that day, the piano blues After Hours. So the arrangement goes forward with a bit of piano (it was prominent in the Crosby hit) and clarinet, while the tension increases just a bit and that bass line becomes more clearly audible before the end. It really is beautifully constructed and the blues element, while it is not directly dveloped quite adds to the performance.

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