Undecided is one of those Jazz standards that got recorded many times by many artists. I guess, the most known versions all include lyrics, but the original recording was instrumental only.
Do you know who wrote it and who first recorded it?
The tune was written and arranged by Charlie Shavers, member of John Kirby & His Onyx Club Boys. He couldn't make up a title, so he called it “Undecided”.
During the height of the big-band era, John Kirby (December 31, 1908 – June 14, 1952) led a sextet, a quite unusual combo size at the time.
John Kirby was originally a trombone and then a tuba player. When he joined Fletcher Henderson‘s Orchestra, he switched to bass. He played with Henderson during 1930-1933, then was part of Chick Webb‘s big band until 1935, and rejoined Henderson (1935-1936).
By 1937, Kirby had his own group at the Onyx Club on 52nd street (NYC). With Kirby's wife at the time Maxine Sullivan on vocals, the sextet was quite popular during 1938-1942.
It included Charlie Shavers on trumpet, Buster Bailey on clarinet, Russell Procope on alto sax, Billy Kyle on piano, drummer O'Neil Spencer, and John Kirby himself on bass.
By 1945, after some replacements and Shavers' departure to join Tommy Dorsey, the only original members still in the group were Bailey and Kirby himself.
In 1946, the band disbanded and despite some attempts by Kirby to form another similar sextet, he couldn't live up to his earlier successes.
Artist: John Kirby & His Onyx Club Boys
Recorded: October 28, 1938
Tempo: 203 bpm
Dance: Lindy Hop, Balboa
You can find all the songs of the series also on my Spotify playlist.
Official hashtag of the series: #djcsotw
Do you like the original recording of “Undecided”? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.