Jay McShann

Blues from Kansas City

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This CD surpasses all former collections of pianist Jay McShann's early recordings, for it is comprised of every commercial side made by McShann during 1941-1943, including 11 delightful, if rarely heard, trio and quartet numbers (featuring McShann, bassist Gene Ramey, and drummer Gus Johnson), along with four lesser-known vocals by the limited but talented Walter Brown that are normally skipped. The result is as complete a musical picture of Jay McShann's early piano style and his orchestra (at least how they sounded in the studios) as is possible. Altoist Charlie Parker has five influential if brief solos (best is "Sepian Bounce") and trumpeters Orville Minor and Buddy Anderson, altoist John Jackson, and Paul Quinichette on tenor also have their spots. However, McShann is clearly the main star of this definitive set by the last of the great Kansas City swing big bands. Highly recommended.

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