The choice of repertoire is more or less predictable. There are no lesser known arias, and Gott sei Dank they have been grouped by opera but, within the operas, not in the order of appearance. The ordering of the operas seems haphazard, too. "What an ungrateful nit-picker!" I can hear readers mumble. "Of course they have decided the order to achieve as much variety as possible". But I am not so sure. Why, in that case, start the recital, after the Zauberflöte overture with two arias in a row sung by Russell Braun?
Andy Kirk's Twelve Clouds of Joy was a top-notch Kansas City swing band that, by 1939, featured the pop vocals of Pha Terrell, the more blues-oriented singing of June Richmond, creative arrangements by Mary Lou Williams, and some excellent soloing from pianist Williams and Dick Wilson on tenor. Most memorable in this entry in Classics' "complete" Andy Kirk CD series are "Floyd's Guitar Blues" (an odd but pioneering electric guitar feature for Floyd Smith), "Wham" and "Scratching In the Gravel."
A perennial favourite here at Bacoso's Big Top this is the fabulous Roland Kirk for Limelight Records from 1965. Check "Juarez" for a jaw dropping Mingus/Tijuana Moods styled latin bomb propelled by Montego Joe and Manuel Ramos ; "Raouf" which is just fucking bonkers-Coleridge Perkinson never arranged for vocals this well again ;"Walk on By" which rips into the Bacharach standard with a free for all pandemonium of sound booted along by Kirk doubling up on tenor and baritone…
Andy Kirk's Orchestra was at the height of its popularity during the late 1930s, still riding high from their hit "Until the Real Thing Comes Along." The star of that record, singer Pha Terrell, is on the majority of the songs on this CD (the fourth in Classics' complete reissuance of the master takes of all Andy Kirk recordings from the swing era), but there are some hotter tunes too, most notably "Mess-A-Stomp," "Jump Jack Jump," "Dunkin' a Doughnut" and "Mary's Idea." However, Terrell's dominance of many titles may make many swing fans opt for the GRP/Decca single-disc Andy Kirk sampler instead.