Pianist and bandleader Jay McShann died at a hospital today (Dec. 7) in Kansas City, Mo., following a brief illness. He was 90 years old.

A self-taught musician, McShann was the last of the great Kansas City players of the '30s and '40s, and the creator of a style that combined swing. As a piano player with a unique and subtle touch, McShann recorded for numerous labels, including Decca, Mercury, Vee Jay, EmArcy, Atlantic and Sony Plain. His best known composition "Confessin' The Blues" has been recorded by the Rolling Stones, B.B. King, Little Walter, Esther Phillips and Jimmy Witherspoon, among others.

McShann's last four albums, including the Grammy-nominated 2003 release "Going to Kansas City", were recorded for the Edmonton-based Stony Plain label. Three of the albums were co-produced by guitarist Duke Robillard.

Stony Plain owner Holger Petersen says, "Jay had a great uplifting smile and kind words for everyone. He was always a delight to travel with, and had a very laid back, inquisitive and cheerful attitude. I'll miss his smile, and hearing him and saying 'Everything's cool.'"

McShann leaves behind his companion of more than 30 years, Thelma Adams (known as Marianne McShann), and three daughters, Linda McShann Gerber, Jayme McShann Lewis and Pam McShann.