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Jay McShann

“The Last of the Blue Devils”

Jay “Hootie” McShann landed in Kansas City in the 1930s, and along with fellow pianist and bandleader Count Basie, established what came to be known as the Kansas City sound: blues rooted jazz driven by swinging horns laid over a powerful but relaxed rhythmic pulse.

James Columbus McShann was born in Muskogee, Okla., on Jan. 12, 1916. He learned to play piano as a young boy by tagging along with an older sister to piano lessons and imitating music he heard on the radio. One of the piano men he heard and would be influenced by was Earl “Fatha” Hines whose live broadcasts from Chicago’s Grand Terrace Hotel he would listen to. By 15, he was working with saxophonist Don Byas and other groups across the Southwest.

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Ray Charles Ray Charles
Count Basie Count Basie
Ella Fitzgerald Ella Fitzgerald
Earl Hines Earl Hines
Erskine Hawkins Erskine Hawkins
Chick Webb Chick Webb
Cab Calloway Cab Calloway
Joe Williams Joe Williams
Tommy Dorsey Tommy Dorsey
Dick Hyman Dick Hyman
Jimmie Lunceford Jimmie Lunceford

All About Vince Guaraldi!

An exclusive opportunity for All About Jazz readers to participate in the celebration of a jazz legend.