Sunday, February 10, 2019
Only a churlish ingrate would complain about the offerings on the Kansas City jazz scene. The Kansas City Jazz Calendar indicates that more than two dozen performances transpired last night. Still, I crave even more variety.
I’m demoralized every time adventurous notables ranging from the jazz giant Dave Holland to the brash upstart Jamie Branch play St. Louis without bothering to venture across the state. Yet who can blame them? All but a few dozen attendees fled during Logan Richardson’s closing set at the Prairie Village Jazz Festival last September. A concert by the Vijay Iyer Sextet, the heavily promoted headlining act at the Open Spaces festival, drew less than 100 people a month later. Au courant jazz is a tough sell in Kansas City.
That’s why I’m traveling to Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Big Ears Festival next month. The opportunity to spend four days immersed in sounds created by the likes of Nik Bärtsch, Mary Halvorson, Craig Taborn, Nicole Mitchell, Makaya McCraven and Shabaka Hutchings- none of whom have performed in Kansas City- is irresistible.
I hope to defray a portion of the considerable expense of the trip by finding a like-minded roommate- churlishness optional- to enable me to afford a room in a downtown hotel within walking distance of the festival. My only regret: as I take in an outing by Mathias Eick in Knoxville on March 21, I’ll miss Adam Nussbaum’s performance at the intimate Gospel Lounge at Knuckleheads in Kansas City.
(Original image by Plastic Sax.)