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The Recordings of Andy Kirk and his Clouds of Joy$
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George Burrows

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780199335589

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199335589.001.0001

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A Mellow Bit of Rhythm

A Mellow Bit of Rhythm

Reconceiving Authenticity, 1957

Chapter:
(p.182) Chapter 4 A Mellow Bit of Rhythm
Source:
The Recordings of Andy Kirk and his Clouds of Joy
Author(s):

George Burrows

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199335589.003.0005

This concluding chapter considers the 1957 album, A Mellow Bit of Rhythm, as a Signifyin(g) form of musical recollection. It rounded off the recorded output of Kirk as a bandleader in a way that re-illuminated the earlier recordings made by his Clouds of Joy within a 1950s hot-jazz context. The retrospective album is shown to be as much a form of stylistic mask-play as the original recordings, as it served to represent a particular kind of ‘authentic’ black-jazz legacy for Andy Kirk and His Clouds of Joy within contemporary stylistic parameters and expectations. The bigger band and its more voluminous sound are considered relative to contemporary audio technologies and tastes and the louder big-band style is shown to re-present Kirk’s recordings of the previous two decades in fresh stylistic and racial garb. Exploring that album ultimately presents an opportunity to reflect on the whole race-political enterprise of the records of Kirk and his band.

Keywords:   Andy Kirk, A Mellow Bit of Rhythm, racial authenticity, recollection, Signifyin(g), New Orthophonic, RCA-Victor, Ray Copeland, Al Cohn, Ken Kersey

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