There's nothing like ringing in the new year in true Kansas City fashion with a renowned jazz band. Perhaps the musicians will precede a swing version of "Auld Lang Syne" at midnight with "One O'Clock Jump" by Count Basie or Charlie Parker's "Confirmation."
Unfortunately for local readers, finding that famous Kansas City feel on New Year's Eve will require some extra effort in 2008.
Last year Bobby Watson played at the Blue Room on New Year's Eve. NPR broadcast Karrin Allyson's live performance in Kansas City two years ago. No such obvious choice for the serious jazz lover is available in Kansas City this year.
Neither of Kansas City's two premier jazz clubs will have a traditional jazz band on stage at midnight on New Year's Eve. The Blue Room is going with Heat Index, a fine R&B and soul-oriented band. And Jardine's has booked the popular blues-based artist Dan Doran. The wonderful Ida McBeth plays from 8-10 p.m. at the Blue Room while the excellent cabaret group Alacartoona plays an early show at Jardine's.
Why? It's only speculation on the part of Plastic Sax, but these savvy clubs know that they need to fill their rooms on one of the year's biggest nights. That might not happen with a jazz act, so the clubs are opting for safer, audience-pleasing choices. I don't blame them. Perhaps the money they make on New Year's Eve can subsidize additional jazz programming in 2009.
Jene Osterheldt's Monday column was a huge help to Plastic Sax. Only because of her do I know that Alice Jenkins is at Cafe Trio. And while radio advertisements had informed me that "two live jazz bands" were peforming at the annual Omega Ball at the Sheraton Overland Park Convention Center Hotel, Jene identifies them as TC Dixon and the KC All Stars Jazz Band. (Before you ask- I don't know who they are, either.)
Other options include Stephanie Laws at Benton's, Dan Thomas at the Phoenix and jump blues act Grand Marquis at Michael Smith at 1900 Main. The jazz-friendly Miles Bonny is booked as a dance DJ at Crosstown Station.
An attractive alternative might be to head to the Lodge of the Four Seasons at the Lake of the Ozarks for Candace Evans.
Edit: Doug Talley will be performing in a trio format at Zest, 106th and Mission Road in Leawood.
Where will you find Plastic Sax on New Year's Eve? I like to celebrate in the middle of a mosh pit.
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