At age 83, pianist/vocalist Jay McShann was still at the top of his game and providing many lessons for the younger "swing" cats and kittens. He is the epitome of what can be done when jazz and blues are mixed equally, especially when the fun factor is liberally added in. While some might find this typical, many others should revel in the sound of one of this music's last living legends who is still doing it, and doing it very well at that. The chemistry between McShann and guitarist/session leader Duke Robillard is considerable and undeniable, and makes Still Jumpin' the Blues enjoyable throughout. With such solid support from Robillard and the band, McShann has nothing to worry about. Everything you might want is here: classic versions of "Goin' to Chicago," "Ain't Nobody's Business," and "Trouble In Mind"; a nice rearrangement with tempo shift from mellow to mid-tempo on "Sunny Side of the Street"; Maria Muldaur's sultry singing on "Come on Over to My House," and especially the Bessie Smith evergreen "Backwater Blues"; wonderful instrumentals like "Moten Swing" and "Say Forward, I'll March"; and even a little Hawaiian slide accenting "Hootie's K.C. Christmas Prayer".
Continuing his revived collaboration with producer Steve Jordan – the pair first worked together on 1999's Take Your Shoes Off, then reunited on 2014's In My Soul – Robert Cray headed to Memphis to cut his 18th studio set with members of the legendary Hi Rhythm Section. Setting up shop at Royal Studios, Cray got to work on a handful of originals and a collection of covers, not all of them strictly related to Memphis. In particular, Cray pushes swamp rocker Tony Joe White and "5" Royales leader Lowman Pauling, cutting two songs from each writer.