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Jay McShann

(1.12.16 – 12.7.06)

Jay McShann

It was at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Clint Eastwood said that he was honored to meet the man. Eastwood said he was in awe of the man’s talent. The rest of the world might have been surprised to learn whom he was talking about, but those of us from Kansas City understood immediately. Eastwood was making these comments about the legendary piano player Jay McShann, and he was just saying out loud what many of us in Kansas City had known all along.

Jay McShann, who actually came out of Oklahoma, made his home in Kansas City and helped develop the sound that put Kansas City-style jazz on the map. He combined the blues with the swinging style of jazz and changed the face of both forms of music in America. Jay worked in Kansas City with a lot of the great local musicians and continued to travel and play as long as he could. He always had a smile on his face and greeted everyone with a kind word. It was amazing how someone could genuinely be that friendly and warm all the time.

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