Jay McShannJay McShann was born on 12/01/1916 in Muskogee, Oklahoma. He would start to learn and appreciate music through Earl Hines' late-night broadcasts from Chicago's Grand Terrace Cafe.
In 1931, McShann started his professional music career, when he started to perform around Tulsa, Oklahoma and also in Arkansas.
In 1936, he moved to Kansas City, Missouri and set up his own big band which featured at various points Charlie Parker, Al Hibbler, Ben Webster, Paul Quinichette, Bernard Anderson, Gene Ramey, Jimmy Coe, Gus Johnson, Harold "Doc" West, Earl Coleman, Walter Brown, and Jimmy Witherspoon among others.
On 09/08/1940, McShann made his first recordings with "The Jay McShann Orchestra", which at the time had Charlie Parker. The band played both swing and blues, but many blues on their records. The most popular recording they made was "Confessin' the Blues".
In 1944, McShann was drafted into the army and the band disbanded.
After World War II, McShann led small groups featuring blues shouter Jimmy Witherspoon.
In 1945, Witherspoon and McShann made their first recordings together.
In 1949, they had a hit with "Ain't Nobody's Business". Witherspoon would write quite a lot material. The band also featured Ben Webster.
In 1955, McShan had a rhythm and blues hit with "Hands Off" which featured vocals from Priscilla Bowman.
In the later 1960s, McShann became popular as a singer as well as a pianist. He would often perform with Claude Williams.
In 1979, McShann appeared in the documentary "Kansas City jazz, The Last of the Blue Devils".
In 1988, McShann was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.
In 1989, he was inducted into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame.
McShann would record and tour into the 1990s.
In 1991, he received a Grammy nomination for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Performance for "Paris All-Star Blues (A Tribute to Charlie Parker)".
He would still perform occasionally into his 80s in the Kansas City area and Toronto.
In 1998, he was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.
In February 2001, McShann recorded the live album "Hootie Blues". He had often been called by the nickname "Hootie".
In 2003, McShann received another Grammy nomination for Best Traditional Blues Album for "Going' to Kansas City".
On 07/12/2006, McShann died in Kansas City, Missouri.