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Kewpie Doll

Jay McShann


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January 12, 1916 - December 7, 2006


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Pianist James Columbus "Jay" McShann was born January 12, 1916 in Muskogee, Oklahmoma.

McShann learned piano by listening to Earl Hines play on the radio, and began touring as a professional musician at age 15.

In 1936 he moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where he formed his own big band.

In the 1960's McShann became known as a singer as well as a pianist.

Jay McShann perfroms one of his piano classics during a filmed interview conducted by Clint Eastwood.

His professional career began around Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1931 followed by travels throughout the mid-west before settling in Kansas City in 1936.

After building a solid reputation as a pianist McShann assembled his Orchestra, a big name on the local scene in the '40s. His big band featured some of the most influential jazz artists of the day including Ben Webster and Charlie Parker.

McShann was a principle figure in the development of the 'Kansas City sound.'

He continued to perform up until his death on December 7, 2006.

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