is one of Kansas City's great treasures, and this disc brings him back to his hometown to record for the first time in almost 50 years, although he's lived there for many decades. Made piecemeal over a few years (although it hangs together so well that you wouldn't know it), these are very definitely the same Kansas City blues that are at the root of music from Charlie Parker
and Count Basie
. A marvelous, effortless pianist, he seems happiest on material with a strong connection to the blues, like "Kansas City," which comes in two versions, or his very rooted version of "Ain't Nobody's Business." And when he gets to the completely solo "The Fish Fry Boogie," age slips completely from his fingers, with some spirited stride playing and a strong left hand under the dexterous right. The excellent Duke Robillard
lends strong support on several tracks on acoustic and electric guitars, Maria Muldaur
duets on "Confessin' The Blues," and the great Johnnie Johnson
sits in for "Some Kinda Crazy" and one of the versions of "Kansas City," which really catches fire. The whole album is an absolute joy, and covers a lot of ground, including the long interview with McShann
that forms the long bonus track -- and includes more of his playing. It's great to know that they can still make blues like this.