At age 83, pianist/vocalist Jay McShann was still at the top of his game and providing many lessons for the younger "swing" cats and kittens. He is the epitome of what can be done when jazz and blues are mixed equally, especially when the fun factor is liberally added in. While some might find this typical, many others should revel in the sound of one of this music's last living legends who is still doing it, and doing it very well at that. The chemistry between McShann and guitarist/session leader Duke Robillard is considerable and undeniable, and makes Still Jumpin' the Blues enjoyable throughout. With such solid support from Robillard and the band, McShann has nothing to worry about. Everything you might want is here: classic versions of "Goin' to Chicago," "Ain't Nobody's Business," and "Trouble In Mind"; a nice rearrangement with tempo shift from mellow to mid-tempo on "Sunny Side of the Street"; Maria Muldaur's sultry singing on "Come on Over to My House," and especially the Bessie Smith evergreen "Backwater Blues"; wonderful instrumentals like "Moten Swing" and "Say Forward, I'll March"; and even a little Hawaiian slide accenting "Hootie's K.C. Christmas Prayer." The disc ends with a short solo piano version of "Georgia on My Mind," followed by a lengthy interview with McShann, explaining his nickname "Hootie," happenings in Kansas City, and other topics. Recordings this precious, historical and relevant cannot be dismissed. Instead they should be celebrated, as should the career of McShann, a most enduring figure in American music. His signature spare piano, with its bluesy flourishes, and his slightly mushy vocal style are as distinctive as any, and come shining through on this exceptional document of one of our true musical treasures.
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AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos
feat: Holger Petersen