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blues/jazz

Jeff Widgren / Courtesy Jeff Widgren

Kansas City jazz lovers are agonizing over the news that Take Five Coffee + Bar will close on Aug. 15.

“We are very sad to have to make this announcement, but Take Five is going to be taking an indefinite ‘set break,’” owners Lori and Doug Chandler wrote on the venue’s Facebook page on July 31.

Since then, an outpouring of sentiment on social media has “made a very difficult situation for us much easier to bear,” says Lori Chandler.

Cody Newill / KCUR

The 2nd Annual American Jazz Walk of Fame honored six jazz musicians with medallions on the sidewalk in front of the Gem Theater off 18th and Vine in Kansas City Saturday.

Jazz figures like Coleman Hawkins, Myra Taylor and Lester Young were honored posthumously, but longtime Kansas City jazz-organist Everette DeVan was there in person to receive the honor.

Local Listen: Julian Vaughn

May 6, 2015

Julian Vaughn is among the Kansas City-based jazz musicians better known internationally than in their hometown. A few of the bassist’s recordings are mainstays on contemporary jazz playlists.

This week’s edition of Local Listen features “Initiate,” a track from Vaughn’s new album “Limitless.”

To hear more, check out the Gem Theater this Friday, where Vaughn will celebrate the release of “Limitless.”

Charvex / Wikimedia -- CC

Every Kansas Citian has a list of out-of-towner attractions — barbecue, the Nelson-Atkins, a stroll through the Plaza. But we have been wondering: what should Kansas Citians be putting on our own to-do list? What hidden gems are right next to us that we need to see (or do) at least once?

We asked you to give us your suggestions, and we got a ton of them!

Here we present the incomplete "Kansas Citian bucket list" — a list of things every person in Kansas City should do at least once. Feel free to add additional items in the comments.

cdbaby.com

  New York based drummer Matt Kane returned to Kansas City last year to record compositions by Ahmad Alaadeen, Pat Metheny and Bobby Watson. The resulting album, Acknowledgement, features the Kansas City Generations Sextet, an ensemble of local luminaries including local saxophonist Steve Lambert and trumpeter Hermon Mehari. This week’s Local Listen is a sensitive rendition of Metheny’s “Question and Answer”.

Matt Kane reunites with members of the band Friday and Saturday, April 24-25, at the Green Lady Lounge to celebrate the release of "Acknowledgement".

Local Listen: Millie Edwards

Mar 6, 2015
Facebook / Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame

Millie Edwards may be one of the smallest members of KC’s jazz community, but she owns one of the biggest voices on the scene. This week’s Local Listen features her collaboration with pianist Mike Pagán on the Duke Ellington composition “In a Mellow Tone.”

HEAR MORE: Edwards entertains every Monday at The Phoenix. On Sunday, March 8, she’ll be featured in a KC Jazz Vespers concert at the First Baptist Church of Kansas City. Admission is free.

  Though he is typically placed in the jazz category, guitarist Bill Frisell plays a wide variety of styles, including folk and Americana. On this edition of Up To Date, he chats with Steve Kraske about his beginnings and his eclectic career. 

The Hot Sardines

Combine a bawdy brass line-up, Fats Waller style piano, a female lead with a voice from another era, and a tap dancer as percussion...and you have New York-based jazz band The Hot Sardines.  Band leaders Elizabeth Bougerol and Evan Palazzo join Steve Kraske from their tour bus to chat about their fairytale beginning and their unique style. 

Kansas City native Kelley Hunt has been recording and performing for years. Her latest album Beautiful Bones has received some of the biggest accolades of her career. The Lawrence-based blues singer joins Steve Kraske to talk about her long career and upcoming performance at the Folly Theater. Also joining the conversation is Hunt's manager, co-producer, and husband, Al Berman.

Days before the deadline for a clarinet and saxophone competition to win $1,000 and a trip to Paris, Gunnar Gidner could barely stand. A spinal injury had left him unable to walk, much less practice his tenor saxophone, for two and a half months.

Gidner had recovered enough to return to school at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance in December. His jazz combo was rehearsing on his first day back, and Gidner’s professor, Dan Thomas, heard the recording and thought it was good. Really good.

Local Listen: Marcus Hampton

Feb 4, 2015
Artists Recording Collective

Trumpeter Marcus Hampton, a cousin of jazz legend Lionel Hampton, recently moved to the Kansas City area. The trumpeter and bandleader ably maintains his family’s rich legacy. This week’s edition of Local Listen features Hampton House of Jazz, the title track of his 2014 album.

Hear More: Marcus Hampton’s sextet will be joined by vocalist Toni Gates at the Blue Room on Friday, February 6.

Local Listen: Bassist Bob Bowman

Jan 23, 2015

Bob Bowman has been a fixture on Kansas City’s jazz scene for years. He recently released Songs for Sandra, a radiant album that demonstrates why Bowman is respected as the dean of Kansas City’s bassists. This edition of Local Listen features the new track Street Cartwheels

Hear More: Bob Bowman will perform with his group Bow Dog at the Blue Room on Friday, January 23.

courtesy of the family

Three notable arts figures died in Kansas City in recent weeks: Ann K. Brown, Brenda Nelson, and Tommy Ruskin.

Drummer Tommy Ruskin, 72, died the morning of Jan. 1, after a long illness.

A native of Kansas City, Ruskin’s career spanned nearly half a century. He began performing as a teenager with singers such as Marilyn Maye, and went on to play with other jazz greats like Al Cohn, Scott Hamilton, Gene Harris, Zoot Sims, and Bill Watrous.

www.karrin.com

A gypsy life isn't unusual among musicians and Karrin Allyson certainly leads one.  Her official biography includes a childhood in the Midwest, schooling in the Bay area, a stint in Minneapolis, a home base now in New York City and tours that take her around the world.

Courtesy Jim Mair

This week, the musicians in the Kansas City Kansas Community College Jazz Ensemble travel to Cuba, where they’ve been invited to perform at the Havana International Jazz Festival. It’s a point of pride for a little-known, but stellar music program.

Thanksgiving Breakfast Dance Facebook Page

On Thanksgiving morning, when people all over the nation express their gratitude by sleeping in or toiling away in the kitchen, several hundred Kansas Citians step out in their finest attire to head to a giant party — with live music, dancing, and heaping helpings of Louisiana gumbo.

For breakfast.

courtesy: American Jazz Museum

The American Jazz Museum is reporting the death of musician Horace Washington, 62, posting this today on the museum's Facebook page: “The Board and Staff of the American Jazz Museum are saddened to pass along the news that HORACE WASHINGTON has passed away.”

Washington, a saxophonist and flute player who grew up in Kansas City, Kan., had been dealing with some health issues for the past couple of years, says Chris Burnett, marketing and communications manager for the museum.

AFP

Art Spiegelman has been called the father of the graphic novel, though it's a title he resists. And composer Phillip Johnston has been a fixture in the New York underground music scene since the 1980s. The friends and collaborators teamed up on a performance (coming to Kansas City October 19, 2014) that, according to Johnston, is like a high school class slideshow lecture on LSD. 

Guests:

Gottlieb, William P./Wikimedia-Creative Commons

In the 1930s, Kansas City was a place where talent and history converged, resulting in a whole new sound that jazz aficionados continue to study today. But how does that past inform Kansas City's present day jazz scene?

Guests:

mohaoffbeat.blogspot.com / Creative Commons

Ben Webster hated to fly on airplanes.

When he went to Europe to perform for his fans across the Atlantic, the trip was one-way. 

A contemporary of Charlie Parker, Webster grew up in Kansas City, Mo., right off of 24th Street. He taught himself to play the piano at a young age, and started his career performing as a pianist for silent films. It wasn't until he was about 20 years old that he took up the saxophone.

Todd Zimmer

It was almost exactly a year ago when a young band named Katy Guillen and the Girls won the Kansas City Blues Society’s annual Kansas City Blues Challenge. The victory earned them a trip to Memphis to compete with bands from all over the world in the International Blues Challenge in January.

Wikipedia Commons

Kansas City is finally honoring jazz icon Charlie Parker with a two-week celebration that kicks off today. The celebration is centered on the occasion of what would have been Parker’s 94th birthday. It includes a 21-sax salute at Lincoln Cemetery where Parker is buried.

Alyson Raletz, KCUR

With a ukelele and jazz guitar in tow, the traveling Kansas City-based musical duo known as Victor & Penny stopped by Central Standard on Wednesday to talk with Gina Kaufmann — and to perform a few of their signature "antique pop" songs live for our listeners.

Although he's in his early twenties, bassist Dominique Sanders is already a fixture in Kansas City's most prestigious jazz clubs.    Tivon Pennicott, a New York-based saxophonist best known for his work with the Grammy-winning star Esperanza Spalding, will join Sanders' trio at three area venues next week.  Sanders and Pennicott will explore the intersection of jazz and R&B at Broadway Jazz Club, the Blue Room and Take Five Coffee.

Terance Williams / Facebook

When Glenn North read a poem at the grand opening for the American Jazz Museum in 1997, something clicked.

From that moment on, the poet and the museum grew in tandem.  In 2004, North officially joined the museum's staff, establishing a nationally recognized spoken word scene at the museum's Blue Room.

North recently left his post as education manager and poet-in-residence. He plans to finish his master's degree and focus on his poetry.

Upon his departure, Central Standard invited him to sit down for a talk. Among the highlights:

A New Kind Of Jazz Combo

May 1, 2014
diversejazz.com

  Kansas City-based jazz band Diverse is mixing it up to combine their smooth sounds with other musical genres.

On Thursday's Up to Date, we talk with their trumpeter about those innovations and where they hope to take this new sound mix.

Guest:

  • Hermon Mehari, trumpeter in Diverse and 2014 Charlotte Street Generative Performing Artist Award recipient

kcrep.org

Get that spring into your step with Brian McTavish's Weekend To-Do List for March 21-23, 2014.

Lyric Opera of Kansas City: “La Boheme” (Classic opera by Giacomo Puccini), 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo. Tickets: $90 to $160 

Buddy Anderson Collection, LaBudde Special Collections / Miller Nichols Library

Virginia "Ginny" Coleman, the co-host of Just Jazz on KCUR, died on Thursday, March 6. She was 91. 

Just Jazz was a staple of KCUR's lineup for 23 years, most recently on Sundays from 2 to 4 p.m. The final broadcast was in October 2005.

Playing the music they loved

waltarrrrr / Flickr-CC

Want to get rid of the post-Mardi Gras blahs? Check out Brian McTavish's Weekend To-Do List for March 7-9, 2014.

Golden! Girls Gone Wild!!! (Late Night Theatre returns with cross-dressing satire of TV’s “The Golden Girls”), opens at 8 p.m. Friday with performances through March 31 at Missie B’s, 805 W. 39th, Kansas City, Mo. Tickets: $18 (816-235-6222)

All That Canadian Jazz Comes To Kansas City

Feb 28, 2014
lailabiali.com

Not that long ago, Laila Biali was struggling to make a name for herself in the world of American jazz. She was on the verge of giving up when she got an invitation to audition for Sting. She made the cut, and wound up at Sting’s estate in Tuscany for rehearsal.

On Friday's Up to Date, we talk with Biali about her music as she prepares to open the American Jazz Museum’s Women in Jazz Month. 

Guest:

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