Exhibition showcases KC jazz icon Jay McShann

Po Sim Head

Students in the UMKC Conservatory’s advanced research and bibliography course received greetings and compliments during the opening exhibition “Jay’s Kansas City: An Exhibit honoring Jay McShann”.

Jay McShann (1916-2006), one of the last great pianists fluent in Kansas City jazz style, brought a lasting impact to the jazz history. Boxes of McShann’s archives are held by UMKC’s LaBudde Special Collections giving students an opportunity to know more about jazz and McShann.

The exhibition is located on the third floor of the UMKC Miller Nichols Library. One side of the wall includes twelve panels which are all about McShann’s life–his music, his family and his travel.

The first section of the panels give the readers a general timeline of Mcshann’s life as well as how he started playing the piano and later as a band leader.

The second set of panels focus on his music and his collaboration with other jazz musicians, including Charlie Parker.

The last section discusses his footprint in Kansas City as well as his family. Interesting enough, McShann performed in many places, which are now conducting different businesses. For example, he performed at, what used to be called, the Century Room which is now a Swedish Restaurant.

The opening event lasted for about an hour. Jayne and Linda, daughters of McShann, came and celebrated this opening. Jayne and her son, Jason, had even given some short speeches during a presentation for this opening.

After a short presentation, a jazz quartet gave a nice performance while attendees enjoyed the exhibition and refreshments.

Some of the McShann’s LP collections are hung on the other side of the wall. QR codes are included in this exhibition for visitors who are interested in listening to McShann’s interviews and music. Physical materials, including McShann’s passport, his Grammy award and so on, are displayed as well.

With a limited space given for this exhibition, it is not able to display more. However, LaBudde Special Collections is open to the public and staff members are eager to give visitors more information.

This exhibition “Jay’s Kansas City: An Exhibit honoring Jay McShann” will be opened for public until Dec., 2018, a great way for people to come and learn more about McShann.


(photo source https://www.discogs.com/)


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