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Album Review

The team of pianist-vocalist Jay McShann and bassist Major Holley was very natural. Their 1986 engagement at Toronto's Café des Copains was the first time they had worked together in years, but the spontaneity adds to the fun of the music. Holley contributes swinging and witty basslines along with occasional bowed solos (singing along with his bass), while McShann plays and sings more standards and less blues than usual. The great deal of joy in this collaboration can be heard in such songs as "Jumpin' the Blues," "Margie," "Lullaby of Birdland," and McShann's lengthy "Sometimes I Wonder."


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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Havin' Fun, Jay McShann
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