Andy Kirk

Andy Kirk

Andy Kirk was a jazz saxophonist and bandleader who led the Twelve Clouds of Joy, a band that was popular during the swing era.

Kirk grew up in Denver, Colorado, where he was tutored by Wilberforce Whiteman.  (Wilberforce Whiteman was Paul Whiteman's father.  We play many of Paul Whiteman's tunes on Swing City Radio as well.)  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 left for personal reasons.

Kirk renamed the band Clouds of Joy and relocated the band from Dallas to Kansas City. 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.

Listen to a recording of “Christopher Columbus” by Andy Kirk and His Twelve Clouds of Joy.  The song was later adopted by the Benny Goodman band for inclusion in their famous arrangement of “Sing, Sing, Sing.”

After Kirk moved the band to Kansas City they grew in popularity as they epitomized the Kansas City jazz sound. In mid-1936, he was signed to Decca and made scores of popular records for the label until 1946.

Listen to Andy Kirk and His Twelve Clouds of Joy right here on Swing City Radio.

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