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Jay McShann biography



Jay McShann (January 12, 1916 – December 7, 2006) was an American Grammy Award-nominated blues, mainstream jazz, and swing bandleader, pianist and singer. During the 1940s, McShann was at the forefront of blues and hard bop jazz musicians mainly from Kansas City. He assembled his own big band, with musicians that included some of the most influential artists of their time, including Charlie Parker, Bernard Anderson, Ben Webster and Walter Brown. His kind of music became known as "the Kansas City sound" McShann died on December 7, 2006, at St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City. Jay McShann was survived by his companion of more than 30 years, Thelma Adams (known as Marianne McShann), and three daughters - Linda McShann Gerber, Jayne McShann Lewis, and Pam McShann. He began working as a professional musician in 1931, performing around Tulsa, Oklahoma and neighboring Arkansas. 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, the big band era being over, he was unable to successfully restart it when he got out. Smaller groups 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 later became popular as a singer as well as a pianist, often performing with violinist 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 where he made his last recording in February 2001 after a recording career of 61 years. Influence On one of their earliest albums, Five by Five (a UK EP) and 12x5 (a US LP) (both 1964), The Rolling Stones recorded a cover of "Confessin' the Blues", a song McShann had co-written with Walter Brown in the 1940s. Crime-fiction writer Elmore Leonard featured McShann as a character in his 2005 novel, The Hot Kid.