James ColumbusJayMcShann (January 12, 1916 – December 7, 2006) was a jazz pianist, vocalist, composer, and bandleader. He led bands in Kansas City, Missouri, that included Charlie Parker, Bernard Anderson, Ben Webster, and Walter Brown.

McShann was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and was nicknamed Hootie. During his youth he taught himself how to play the piano through observing his sister’s piano lessons and trying to practicing tunes he heard off the radio. He was also heavily influenced by Earl Hines‘s late-night broadcasts from Chicago’s Grand Terrace Cafe: “When ‘Fatha’ (Hines) went off the air, I went to bed”. He began working as a professional musician in 1931 at the age of 15, performing around Tulsa, Oklahoma, and neighboring Arkansas.

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