Bit ‘O Billy Kyle

The Billy Kyle/John Kirby “A Flat to C” from 1938 may be the first time a chain sequence of eight dominants is placed in a rhythm changes context. Don Byas used this cycle for “I Got Rhythm” with Slam Stewart; Thelonious Monk used it for “Humph” and later recordings of “Rhythm-a-ning.”

Billy Kyle is an interesting figure. Cheers to Ricky Riccardi for a detailed centennial celebration from 2014. Wow! I learned a lot.

Kyle could really swing, but he also utilized big “classical music” quotes. The “back-to-Bach” counterpoint concluding “All the Things You Are” foreshadows John Lewis, George Shearing, and Nina Simone.

The climatic octave passage in “Perdido” is borrowed from Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2. At this moment (and this moment only) I might pair him with Don Shirley.

At some point I need to do a serious John Kirby investigation. A clip of “Musicomania” also has the wonderful Sid Catlett on drums.