Andrew “Andy” Dewey Kirk (28.05.1898 – 11.12.1992) was a successful bigband leader in the 1930s and 1940s, but he never was considered as a major musician or arranger.
In 1918, Andy Kirk began as bass saxophonist and tuba player with George Morrison's orchestra. In 1925, he moved from Denver to Dallas to play with Terrence Holder's Dark Clouds of Joy. Four years later he took over the orchestra and moved to Kansas City. The name of the orchestra was now Andy Kirk & His Twelve Clouds of Joy.
They made their first recordings from 1929-1930, after that there was a big break until 1936 without any recordings. In that year, they had a major hit with “Until the Real Thing Comes Along”.
It's especially thanks to pianist Mary Lou Williams, that the band was so successful. She was arranger, composer and soloist in the band. Mary Lou stayed from 1929 to 1942.
Andy Kirk broke up the band in 1948. In the early 1950s, he shortly had another band and in the 1970s, he led occasionally some bands as well. But in the meantime, he had different jobs: hotel manager, real estate broker and official in the Musicians' Union.
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