The Recordings of Andy Kirk and his Clouds of Joy

ISBN : 9780199335596

George Burrows
232 Pages
140 x 210 mm
Pub date
Jun 2019
Oxford Studies in Recorded Jazz
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Andy Kirk's Clouds of Joy came from Kansas City to find nationwide fame in the later 1930s. The many records they made between 1929 and 1949 came to exemplify the Kansas City style of jazz, but they were also criticized for their populism and inauthenticity. In The Recordings of Andy Kirk' and his Clouds of Joy, George Burrows considers these records as representing negotiations over racialized styles between black jazz musicians and the racist music industry during a vital period of popularity and change for American jazz. The book explores the way that these reformative negotiations shaped and can be heard in the recorded music. By comparing the band's appropriation of musical styles to the manipulation of masks in black forms of blackface performance-both signifying and subverting racist conceptions of black authenticity-it reveals how the dynamic between black musicians, their audiences and critics impacted upon jazz as a practice and conception.


1 Sweet and Hot: Stylistic-racial stereotypes and masks, 1929-1931
2 Walkin' and Swingin': Signifyin(g) race in elegant swing for Decca, 1936-1941.
3 Until the real thing comes along: Pop songs and black authenticity, 1936-1949.
4 A Mellow Bit of Rhythm: Inauthentic recollections of black-jazz authenticity, 1957

About the author: 

George Burrows is Reader in Performing Arts at the University of Portsmouth, where he has lectured on music and theatre for more than 15 years. His published research focuses on interwar musical theatre and jazz. He founded the Song, Stage and Screen international conference in 2006 and the academic journal, Studies in Musical Theatre (Intellect) in 2007. He is also active as a performing musician and directs the University of Portsmouth Choir. Writing this book inspired him to learn the Sousaphone.

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