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Published on Apr 3, 2009
Born in New York City on April 27, 1918, Kirby (whose real name was Herbert), formed Herby Stone And His Pebbles shortly after the end of WWII, which by 1947 had evolved into The Kirby Stone Quintette (later shortened to Quintet). The line-up consisted of Kirby (trumpet), Art Cow Eyes Engler (saxophone), Michael Gardner (piano), Bernie Doc Mandel (bass) and Gene Thaler (later replaced by Eddie Hall) (drums). Within a few short years, the group had become a four piece featuring Kirby, Michael, Eddie and first rate impressionist Larry Foster. The Quintet had become a Quartet and then simply a Four, and it was with this line-up that Kirby found his greatest success, including a Grammy nomination in 1958 for the song Baubles, Bangles And Beads (taken from Kismet).
Although the group re-recorded the song in 1964, and again in 1968, it is the 1958 version, issued on the Columbia label, that shows the group at its peak (and is regarded by many as the ultimate version of this Wright & Forrest classic).
As well as recording, The Kirby Stone Four appeared on television and in nightclubs across the USA (including their own Kirby Stone Fourum club in New York City), and toured overseas.
In the latter half of the 1960s, Larry left the group to once more pursue a solo career as an impressionist, and he was replaced by Jimmy Hassell. However, this line-up was fairly short-lived, and by the end of the decade the Kirby Stone Four had disbanded. Kirby, however, continued touring and recording into the 1970s, with Kirby Stone & The Ethnic Family and The Kirby Stone Company. He passed away on July 13, 1981, aged 63.
This clip features a chronological history of Kirby, the groups he led, and the recordings he made. Enjoy!