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Paycheck Protection Program And Redlining | Jazz Classic 'Zodiac Suite'

Renowned jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams, pictured here at a piano, received an honorary degree from Rockhurst College in Kansas City in 1980.
William P. Gottlieb
Wiki Commons
Renowned jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams, pictured here at a piano, received an honorary degree from Rockhurst College in Kansas City in 1980.

The Paycheck Protection Program was meant for underserved communities, but in Kansas City its allocation mirrored the city's history of redlining, and the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra performs a new arrangement of Mary Lou Williams' 'Zodiac Suite'.

Segment 1, beginning at 1:00: How the Paycheck Protection Program, designed to help the most vulnerable during the pandemic, fell short in Kansas City.

The Center for Public Integrity discovered PPP lending in Kansas City actually mirrored decades-old patterns of racial discrimination. The new report published in partnership with The Kansas City Star and Mother Jones found that in the Kansas City neighborhoods “redlined” in the 1930s, fewer PPP loans were given last year than in the rest of the city.

Segment 2, beginning at 25:53: Mary Lou Williams was an accomplished jazz pianist, arranger and composer whose work lives on in a new arrangement of one of her major compositions.

Over her life, Williams collaborated with greats like Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, and Thelonious Monk. In her 'Zodiac Suite', each movement was inspired by a musician born under the astrological sign. Clint Ashlock and the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra are among those contributing to a revival of the suite with a new arrangement.

When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.
Whether it’s something happening right now or something that happened 100 years ago, some stories don’t fit in the short few minutes of a newscast. As a podcast producer and reporter at KCUR Studios, I help investigate questions and local curiosities in a way that brings listeners along for adventures with plot twists and thought-provoking ideas. Sometimes there isn’t an easy answer in the end – but my hope is that we all leave with a greater understanding of the city we live in. Reach me at mackenzie@kcur.org.
As senior producer of Up To Date, I want our listeners to hear familiar and new voices that shine light on the issues and challenges facing the myriad communities KCUR serves, and to expose our audiences to the wonderful and the creative in the Kansas City area. Just as important to me is an obligation to mentor the next generation of producers to ensure that the important conversations continue. Reach me at alexanderdk@kcur.org.
Chris Young is an Assistant Producer for KCUR’s Up To Date. Contact him at chrisy@kcur.org.