KC Jazz Lark shortly after making the suggested $10 donation for entry to the Musicians For Molly benefit concert at Mod Gallery on Sunday, July 14. He informed me that he’d donated two of his most prized possessions to the fundraiser for Molly Hammer. Although KC Jazz Lark is otherwise humble and gracious, he’d long boasted about his autographed posters from the sorely-missed Kansas City Jazz Festival.
I knew I was in big trouble.
As one of the organizers of the festival during the 1980s, KC Jazz Lark had every headliner sign corresponding concert posters. Sure enough, autographs of an audacious clutch of jazz legends are inscribed in silver ink on the 1985 and 1986 posters that were displayed at the silent auction at Mod Gallery. A partial list: Toshiko Akiyoshi, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Stan Getz, Al Grey, Percy Heath, Major Holley, Milt Jackson, Gus Johnson, Connie Kay, Andy Kirk, John Lewis, Herbie Mann, Jay McShann and Buddy Tate.
I bid slightly over the minimum for each poster, a sum that exceeds my airfare and lodging outlay for an upcoming trip to the Chicago Jazz Festival. No one topped my opening salvo. I’m now the proud owner of two unique pieces of jazz history. My bank account took an unexpected hit, but the money went to a good cause. And knowing that a miniscule moment in the lives of each jazz giant is in the room with me as I enjoy recordings like “Blue Clarinet Stomp” (1929), “Laura” (1953), “That’s All” (1955), “Fontessa” (1956), “Corcovado” (1964), “Memphis Underground” (1969) and “Trouble in Mind” (1981) enhances my appreciation of each classic.
(Original image by Plastic Sax.)