Article number: JSP 8810
Their instrumentals dwell in the sweet spot between jazz and blues on this 1982 collaboration. That’s nothing new. Casey learned to blend the genres when he was still a teenager, playing guitar for Fats Waller. McShann, one of Kansas City’s greatest pianists, always mixed jazz with his blues, too. (Charlie Parker once played in his band, for God’s sake.)
On “One Sweet Blues,” Casey’s gentle guitar notes seem to float above McShann’s sinewy blues riffs. Both musicians sound as if they’re meditating about the wonders of nature on the gorgeous “How Deep is the Ocean.” And on “Rosetta,” McShann’s play is flat-out raucous while Casey offers a spirited but calming counterpoint.
The two songs on which McShann sings — “Going to Kansas City” and “Hello Little Girl” — are certainly highlights, but “Deed I Do” is the album’s focal point, at least for me. I can’t think of many recordings that better illustrate the symbiotic relationship between jazz and blues.