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The Missouri Connection

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Album Review

This set is a bit unusual, for one would not automatically expect Jay McShann and John Hicks to record a set of piano duets. Since Hicks has always been a flexible player, he defers to McShann, meeting the older pianist on his own turf. The repertoire is not at all unusual for McShann (particularly since "The Missouri Connection" is a medium-tempo blues). Hicks has Thelonious Monk's "Reflections" as his solo feature, while McShann takes "Sweet Lorraine" as a solo, contributing vocals to a couple of the other selections. While Hicks is a more modern player than McShann, the two pianists blend together quite well and this combination, which may not seem all that logical at first glance, works.


Born: 12 January 1916 in Muskogee, OK

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

The great veteran pianist Jay McShann (also known as Hootie) enjoyed a long career and it is unfair to primarily think of him as merely the leader of an orchestra that featured a young Charlie Parker. He was mostly self-taught as a pianist, worked with Don Byas as early as 1931 and played throughout the Midwest before settling in Kansas City in 1936. McShann formed his own sextet the following year and by 1939 had his own big band. In 1940 at a radio station in Wichita, KS, McShann and an octet out...
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The Missouri Connection, Jay McShann
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