Sep 3, 2009    #104
Contact: Laura Byerley
(816) 235-1592

UMKC library receives legendary Kansas City jazz collection

Compilation highlights pianist and bandleader Jay McShann’s career.

The Dr. Kenneth J. LaBudde Special Collections at the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s (UMKC) University Libraries recently received the collection of legendary Kansas City pianist and bandleader Jay McShann. The collection was donated to the library by his daughter, Pam McShann.

Highlights of the collection include videos of interviews with McShann and footage of him in performance. In addition, the collection includes photographs, awards and other memorabilia from McShann’s career. It represents a major addition to the extensive Kansas City jazz collections housed in the library’s LaBudde Special Collections and the Marr Sound Archives, and offers students and scholars a rich collection of artifacts from a Kansas City legend.

Originally from Oklahoma, McShann moved to Kansas City in 1936. A two-fisted pianist who played a broad range of jazz styles from the blues to bebop, McShann led a big band that featured Charlie “Bird” Parker. In April 1941, the band recorded “Confessin’ the Blues” – a lazy orchestral expression of the blues. “Confessin’ the Blues” became a nationwide hit, selling more than 100,000 copies within three months.

After the success of “Confessin’ the Blues”, McShann’s band moved to New York City and opened at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem. During World War II, the band broke up and McShann formed a small combo on the West Coast. In the early 1950s, McShann returned to Kansas City, where he raised his family. From the late 1960s until his death in 2006, he performed jazz across the world.

McShann had strong ties to UMKC. He attended the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance in the 1950s and received an honorary Doctor of Musical Arts in 1990.

Once the collection is processed, people will be able to search the collection and find photographs online. Until then – or to view items in-person – arrangements can be made by calling (816) 235-5712.

Located on the Volker campus, Miller Nichols Library is UMKC’s largest library and houses the general collection, Music/Media Library, LaBudde Special Collections and Marr Sound Archives. On the Health Sciences campus, the Dental Library and Health Sciences Library serve students and researchers in those disciplines. Along with its partners – the UMKC School of Law’s Leon E. Bloch Law Library and the Linda Hall LibraryUniversity Libraries offer comprehensive public research for Kansas City and the heart of UMKC.

University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience.

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This information is available to people with speech or hearing impairments by calling Relay Missouri at (800) 735-2966 (TT) or (800) 735-2466 (voice).


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