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Jay McShann
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Jay McShann

Jay McShann(January 12 1916 – December 7 2006) was an American blues and swing pianist, bandleader, and singer.

Nicknamed "Hootie", McShann was born James Columbus McShann in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Musically, his real education came from Earl Hines' late-night broadcasts from Chicago's Grand Terrace Ballroom. “When 'Fatha' [Hines] went off the air, I went to bed"'. He began working as a professional musician in 1931, performing around Tulsa, Oklahoma and neighboring Arkansas. He moved to Kansas City, Missouri in 1936, and set up his own big band, which featured Charlie Parker (from 1937 to 1942), Bernard Anderson, Ben Webster and Walter Brown. Although they included both swing and blues numbers, the band played blues on most of its records; its most popular recording was "Confessin' the Blues." The group disbanded when McShann was drafted into the Army in 1944, and he was unable to successfully restart it when he got out.

After World War II McShann began to lead small groups featuring blues shouter Jimmy Witherspoon. Witherspoon started recording with McShann in 1945, and fronting McShann's band, and had a hit in 1949 with "Ain't Nobody's Business." As well as writing much material, Witherspoon continued recording with McShann's band, which also featured Ben Webster, until 1951, whence McShann then played in obscurity until 1969. McShann then became popular as a singer as well as a pianist, often performing with Claude Williams. He continued recording and touring through the 1990s. Well into his 80s, McShann still performed occasionally, particularly in the Kansas City area and Toronto, Ontario.

Crime-fiction writer Elmore Leonard featured McShann as a character in his 2005 novel, The Hot Kid.

On December 7 2006, McShann died at St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City.

Honors

  • Inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1988
  • Pioneer Award of the Rhythm and Blues Foundation.
  • Paris All-Star Blues (A Tribute to Charlie Parker) - Best Large Jazz Ensemble Performance - Nominee, 1991 Grammy Awards
  • Goin' to Kansas City - Best Traditional Blues Album - Nominee, 2003 Grammy Awards.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


 

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