Jay McShann played a pivotal role in the evolution of Kansas City swing, bebop, and R&B. The material presented in this segment of the McShann chronology is mostly based in the blues, with heavy emphasis on vocal talent. A session that took place in Kansas City on November 1, 1944 -- with the great Walter Page handling the bass -- resulted in four sides that were issued on the Capitol label. "Moten Swing" is mighty fine, and an elegant "Sunny Side of the Street" served as the flip side. Julia Lee hadn't recorded for 15 years when she sat in with McShann on this date. "Come on Over to My House" and "Trouble in Mind" turned out well enough that Capitol responded with a recording contract and her career took off anew. The rest of the music heard on this disc was recorded in Los Angeles in 1945 and 1946. Out of 19 tracks, only four of these -- all boogies -- are instrumental. A fifth boogie, bearing McShann's nickname, "Hootie," is nearly instrumental except for a bit of shouting done by someone in or near the band who remains unidentified. The vocalists who figured so prominently in McShann's Philo, Premiere, and Mercury recordings sang the blues exclusively. Numa Lee Moore sounds like a downsized Big Maybelle and Crown Prince Waterford has a bit of a rowdy bite in his voice. Jimmy Witherspoon, featured on no less than nine tracks, sounded something like Joe Turner at this stage of his career. McShann's sax and trumpet players interacted wonderfully with the vocalists, and present on the Mercury sessions was legendary Kansas City drummer Jesse Price.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf