John Kirby, December 31, 1908 – June 14 1952 was a jazz double bassist who also played the tuba and trombone. Kirby was born in Winchester (Virginia). He moved to Baltimore, Maryland in 1926, where he remains connected to some. Fletcher Henderson and Chick Webb were his musical partners. Fletcher Henderson performed amazing tuba work on many Henderson recordings in the 1930s. He then started his own band in 1937. His John Kirby’s Sextet, “The Onyx Club Boys”, which included him on bass, Charlie Shavers, Buster Bailey, Buster Bailey, Russell Procope, Billy Kyle, and O’Neil Spencer, on clarinet and alto saxophone respectively, would go on to become one of the most important “small groups” during the Big band era. They also recorded the first recording of “Undecided”. His jazz style was lighter and more classically influenced, which has many critics and defenders. From 1938 to 1941, he was prolific and very popular. His career suffered after World War II and he died in Hollywood just before his planned comeback. He was inducted into both the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame in 1993. Kirby, unlike other “novelty” jazz groups like Raymond Scott, isn’t well-known today. His small group of light jazz is an excellent example of how swing can be elegant. You can also submit user-contributed text under the Creative Commons By -SA License.