Release Date: 09/16/08
The Sound of Hard-Won Experience
Friends Jay McShann and Al Casey were steeped in blues and jazz, so it's no surprise that these recordings brim with positive spirit and entertainment value. Both are master craftsmen. During the1930s, they were already leading jazzmen. It's a tribute to the skill and tenacity of both men that they had long careers in music. Jay McShann had been playing piano since the age of 12. After touring with various bands he moved to Kansas City in the mid '30s. He formed a band, which from 1937 included Charlie Parker. With Count Basie's, McShann's band typified the driving style that became known as 'Kansas City'. In the early 1940s his band thrived, but events intervened. In 1943 McShann was drafted. On discharge McShann formed an 8-plece band mainly active on the West Coast which featured vocalist jimmy Witherspoon. In the 1970s and 1980s he became popular in Europe. Alone or in company, he continued to deliver fine jazz. Guitarist Al Casey was born in 1915. He was a key sideman with Teddy Wilson, Billie Holiday, James P. Johnson, Alberta Hunter and saxist King Curtis. But he's most famously associated with Fats Waller. Casey had joined Waller as a teen, recording during school holidays until he graduated in 1933. Inspired by Charlie Christian, Casey played excellent single-note solos. In 1943 he won the Esquire guitarist's poll. Casey recorded with vocalist Alberta Hunter in 1946 and 1950. Through club work he came into contact with emerging bebop musicians, and absorbed some of their ideas. By the mid 1950s the popular music amongst African Americans was blues and gospel-based R&B and Casey had moved on to become a New York session player and - from 1957 to 1961 - a member of the King Curtis band, recording with Lavern Baker among others. His musical journey had gone from the stride stylings and jive-talk of Fats Waller, through straight jazz and bebop, to R&B and rock 'n' roll, representing a large chunk of this century's American music.
|Label: Jsp Records|
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