Happy In Bag

Friday, December 15, 2006

Hootie's Hearse

It wasn’t just the hood of Jay McShann’s hearse that shone under the Gem Theater’s marquee. Everyone present at the jazz giant’s visitation service last night seemed to glow in the reflected glory of the jazz giant’s life.

“Jay ‘Hootie’ McShann was one of a kind. He had his own language, his own walk and his own talk,” saxophonist Ahmad Alaadeen said in his moving tribute to McShann. And his spot-on impression of the nasal country twang of McShann’s speaking voice filled the Gem with affectionate laughter.

Perhaps the theater was packed earlier. But by the time I arrived, only a couple hundred people were still there to pay their respects.


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