Monday, June 16, 2014
Jimmy Witherspoon with Jay McShann and His Band Goin' to Kansas City Blues RCA 1957
Jimmy Witherspoon was a blues shouter from Arkansas-Jay McShann a piano player from Oklahoma. McShann settled in Kansas City and founded a band featuring a young Charlie Parker. In 1944, Witherspoon was hired as the singer for McShann's band (several years post-Parker) and from there, his career blossomed. After a four years with McShann, Witherspoon left and found brief success as a solo artist. However, by the 50's, the shouter style had run it's course and Witherspoon was thin on material and interest in his music.
Witherspoon cut this album in 1957 with McShann as somewhat of a reunion and somewhat as an attempt to comeback for both artists. It's a pretty mellow affair and despite that Witherspoon's shouting was well placed in jazz circles, he tones it down here. That's not to say it's not a good album or that he doesn't still belt it out (see "Blue Monday Blues"), but just a relaxed feel to the album. There are some great tunes written by Parker and McShann way back when. There's also 5 1/2 minute rendition of Joe Turner's Piney Brown Blues which is phenomenal and pays tribute to Witherspoon's idol Joe Turner, as well as making a solid tribute to Kansas City.
Further, you got to love this cover, right? The Union Station was still a working train depot. Just a lot to look over and find what's still there and what's changed.