This Florida musician started out on banjo in the '20s but switched to guitar shortly thereafter, a trend among jazz musicians that had a worse effect on the status of the banjo than being used on the soundtrack to Deliverance. Most jazz listeners will come across Jimmy McLin while listening to the studio masterworks of jazz vocalist Billie Holiday recorded in the late '30s, a gig he most likely wound up with through his association with pianist Teddy Wilson, one of that singer's favorite accompanists. McLin began his professional career in the mid-'20s out of Jacksonville, moving to New York in 1928 where he began a professional association with historic ragtime and jazz pianist James P. Johnson. He also played with slightly more modernistic jazzmen such as trumpeter Roy Eldridge. By 1937, he began working with keyboardist Willie "the Lion" Smith, whose Decca recording of "The Swampland Is Calling Me" has been picked as a good example of McLin's thoughtful and sensitive guitar accompaniment, most of which is based around chording and rhythm playing, although with many interesting variations. Around this time he was chosen for some of the studio groups Teddy Wilson assembled to back Holiday, then recording prolifically. This material has been re-released with verve and no attention to the world's dwindling supply of raw materials, under both the names of Holiday and Wilson and on a variety of labels. For the next years, McLin also played hot jazz with clarinetist Buster Bailey and in 1940 gigged with New Orleans soprano saxophonist supreme Sidney Bechet. In the early '40s he also worked with Dave Nelson and the swing pianist Claude Hopkins. He joined the Navy shortly after this gig wound up, playing both trombone and mellophone in the armed forces bands. In 1945 he rejoined Hopkins, who must have been working on some pretty difficult charts as McLin took three years off to study music, then rejoined the Hopkins band once again in 1950. Eventually he returned to Florida and pretty much retired from jazz playing. Like several other guitarists from his generation, his rhythmic playing was useful to touring vocal groups such as the popular Ink Spots, with whom McLin worked off and on until his death.