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Jay McShann Meets Jimmy Witherspoon

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Album Review

This 1958 LP was just a random — and short — roundup of ten tracks from 1949-1951 singles Jimmy Witherspoon had done for Modern. With four national R&B hits ("Ain't Nobody's Business," "No Rollin' Blues," "Big Fine Girl," and "Once There Lived a Fool"), it does supply a fragmentary overview of Witherspoon's early career, in which he — like so many R&B singers — was purveying a brand of West Coast blues that could both swing and croon. It's not up there with the singer's best recordings, as it doesn't have the most forceful of the jazz-blues fusions he'd make. It's respectable early R&B, however, with a bunch of sides recorded in concert (including "Ain't Nobody's Business," "No Rollin' Blues," and "Big Fine Girl") with a spontaneous rawness unusual even by the standards of this earlier, more rudimentary era. "Jump Children" (aka "Good Jumpin'") is a pretty transparent imitation of "Good Rockin' Tonight," however. The CD reissue on Ace adds a lot of value, tacking on eight bonus tracks from other 1948-1951 singles, as well as lengthy historical liner notes.


Born: January 12, 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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Jay McShann Meets Jimmy Witherspoon, Jay McShann
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