Jay McShann

Montreal Bistro. Saw Jay McShann, the Kansas City piano pioneer – now in his 70’s playing in the Montreal Bistro with Jim Galloway and bassist Neil Swainson. Jay would be playing along and right in the middle of something he would just stop and listen to the bass – and the bass always found something interesting to say. At one point, a small sheet of music kept flying off as he played some barrelhouse boogie woogie and he would always catch it with his left hand and you never heard the slightest difference because he incorporated the lack of a left hand into what he was playing on his right hand so transparently and instinctively – it all seemed like part of the song – one time the sheet just wouldn’t stay put so he had to replace it two or three times and did it with a slightly comedic effect (although it was more like he saw the humour in the whole thing but he wasn’t about to let on). I was standing at the back of the club talking to Rosemary Galloway and he came up and said hello to her – she knew to talk loud into his left ear.