Dating between 1941 and 1952, the recordings showcase pianist McShann and his band’s swinging style that incorporated blues and jazz. The group regularly played clubs and dancehalls in the Midwest and South during the early 1940s.
Despite his own solid playing and songwriting, McShann is often better known for the artists around him. Most significantly, his orchestra featured a young Charlie Parker. Singer Jimmy Witherspoon was also part of McShann’s band a few years later.
The CD opens with the historic recordings of "Moten Swing" and "Honeysuckle Rose" from a 1940 radio broadcast. These selections are notable because they are among the earliest recordings of Parker, whose enormous talents could be heard during an outstanding solo on "Honeysuckle Rose."
Other highlights includes McShann’s hit "Confessin’ The Blues," and the instrumental "Sepian Bounce," with solos by McShann and Parker.
McShann worked with a number of musicians during his career, and this set provides a sweeping account of his career and the artists who were part of his orchestra and combos, including vocalists Witherspoon and Walter Brown.
As the title indicates, the selections are weighted heavily on boogie-woogie and blues numbers. There are other McShann compilations available, but this is one of the most extensive.