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 Thursday, 26 November 2015
Jay McShann Dies in Kansas City PDF Print
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 08 December 2006
"Jay McShann is one of the great ones. I think he's the most under-appreciated of all us Bluesmen." - B.B. King
Pianist and bandleader, Jay "Hootie" McShann who introduced the world to Charlie Parker, died Thursday, December 7th. He was 90. McShann died at St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. The cause of death was not released, but according to the Associated Press, he had entered the hospital within the past week with a respiratory ailment.

James Columbus McShann was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma on January 12th, 1916. He taught himself piano as a child. His early musical education came from Earl Hines’ late-night broadcasts from Chicago’s Grand Terrace Ballroom. McShann began his professional career in 1931, playing with Don Byas. He studied at the Tuskegee Institute, and performed around Arkansas and Oklahoma from 1935 to 1936. In late 1939, Jay had assembled a progressive band, which included Gus Johnson, Gene Ramey and Charlie Parker.

By 1940, Jay McShann had his own big band. The Jay McShann Orchestra toured extensively and recorded for the Decca label in 1941. The band's most popular recording was a blues tune titled 'Confessin' the Blues', but the band also performed and recorded many compositions which bridged traditional Kansas City Jazz and Bebop. During this period, he recorded mostly for Aladdin and Mercury Records. During the 1950's, McShann attended music school at the University of Missouri, KC where he continued his music studies in arrangement and composition.

March 3, 1979 was declared 'Jay McShann Day' by the governor of Missouri, and he has received many other awards and honors. He was the subject of the documentary film Hootie Blues (1978), and was showcased in the film, Last of the Blues Devils. He toured internationally constantly and recorded frequently. recorded through the years for Onyx, Decca, Capitol, Aladdin, Mercury, Black Lion, EmArcy, Vee Jay, Black & Blue, Master Jazz, Sackville, Sonet, Storyville, Atlantic, Swingtime, Music Masters and and most recently for Stony Plain Records. In 2003, his CD Goin' to Kansas City was nominated for a traditional blues Grammy. He has Affectionately know as "Hootie" he remained a vital pianist and blues vocalist until the end.

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