Andy Kirk And His Clouds Of Joy

Jazz orchestra directed by [a=Andy Kirk] (1898-1992), who took over Terrence Holder's Dark Clouds of Joy in 1929 and turned the band into a successful touring and recording unit, very largely dependent on the magnificent writing and arranging of [a=Mary Lou Williams].

Though he was often out front for photo opportunities, Andy Kirk ran the Clouds of Joy strictly from the back row. The limelight was usually left to singer [a=June Richmond] or vocalist/conductor [a=Pha Terrell]; the best of the arrangements were done by Mary Lou Williams, who left the band in 1942; as a bass saxophonist, Kirk wasn't called on to take a solo. All the same, he turned the Clouds of Joy into one of the most inventive swing bands. His disposition was sunny and practical and he was a competent organizer (who in later life ran a Harlem hotel, the legendary Theresa, and organized a Musicians' Union local in New York City).