Today In Jazz

Happy Birthday Jay McShann!

January 12

Today is the 105th birthday anniversary of pianist/bandleader Jay McShann born 1909 in Muskogee, OK.
It was McShann’s ear for talent that led him to hire, despite his personal problems that were already manifesting themselves, the teenaged Charlie Parker, and it is for that that McShann is largely remembered today.
Parker plays well on this, his first recording, but McShann’s solo is equally deserving of praise:

What is forgotten is that McShann was an original stylist, with a mastery of the Southwest piano blues tradition, and also with an ear for the work of Art Tatum, who was one of his biggest admirers. In fact, you can hear McShann’s influence in Tatum’s blues playing!
This not-great-video-quality but excellent document of McShann’s musicality is how we choose to remember and celebrate this soft-spoken giant of jazz: