Jay McShann

James Columbus “Jay” McShann 1916-2006

Born in Okla., Mr. McShann was already a well-traveled musician when he settled in Kansas City in 1936. He helped establish what came to be known as the Kansas City sound: a brand of jazz rooted in the blues, driven by riffs and marked by a powerful but relaxed rhythmic pulse.

Performer: James Columbus "Jay" McShann

Performer:
James Columbus “Jay” McShann

In 1939 he added more sidemen, among them teenage saxophonist Charlie Parker, but it was their 1941 hit “Confessin’ the Blues,” that brought the band prominence in the blues.

McShann staged a well-deserved comeback in the 70s.  He is the subject of the film Hooties Blues (1978), and figured prominently in the 1979 film The Last of the Blue Devils about Kansas City Jazz.