Sunday, May 19, 2019

Ghosts in the Machine

Kansas City’s jazz scene isn’t merely haunted by its illustrious history.  The formidable legacy of past masters often seems to suffocate the musicians of today.  That’s one of the takeaways from an exercise I conducted at my nondenominational music blog There Stands the Glass.

The examination of Spotify’s monthly listeners metric for artists associated with Kansas City offers intriguing insights into the consumption of jazz recordings.  Half of the artists in the top ten and 24 of the top 100 are jazz musicians.  Pat Metheny, Karrin Allyson, the jazz-adjacent Oleta Adams and the smooth jazz stars Norman Brown and Julian Vaughn are the only living jazz artists in the top 50.  And the gulf between the iconic Charlie Parker (#10, 495,000 monthly listeners) and his present-day successor Logan Richardson (#99, 1,000 monthly listeners) is astounding. 

The absence of many of the artists regularly documented at Plastic Sax is glaring.   I note at the original post that “many ostensible hometown heroes are streamed by only a few hundred users each month.”  Streaming isn’t a zero-sum game- just because someone streams Charlie Parker doesn’t mean they’re not also streaming Logan Richardson- but the extreme imbalance between old and new is frightening.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, May 17, 2019

Now's the Time: Christian Swan

Christian Swan will perform at the Blue Room on Friday, May 17, and at Westport Coffeehouse on Sunday, May 19.  The keyboardist recently announced that he’s moving from Kansas City to Chicago.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Nothing in Steve Paul’s thoughtful assessment of the health of Kansas City’s jazz scene for KC Studio will come as a surprise to devoted readers of Plastic Sax.

*As noted by KCUR, Soirée Steak & Oyster House recently opened in the Jazz District.  The venue features performances by jazz musicians every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

*A writer for Jazz Journal analyzes Pete Kelly’s Blues, the 1955 movie starring Jack Webb that’s set in Kansas City.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Dreamgirl Stephanie Ashlyn- I let my kitty Easter pick a Pat Metheny cd. Now playing: Secret Story.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Concert Review: Havilah Bruders and Paul Shinn at Black Dolphin

Even though I’d heard Havilah Bruders perform several times with the roots-rock band Cadillac Flambé and I’d listened to her 2017 jazz album Come Rain or Shine, I didn’t grasp the depth of her talent until I heard her sing at a Sunday morning service at my church two months ago.  The Kansas City vocalist’s interpretation of “Love Rescue Me”- a song co-written by U2 and Bob Dylan that had previously failed to resonate with me- delivered a genuinely religious experience.

Bruders’ duet with pianist Paul Shinn in a Friday matinee performance at Black Dolphin on May 10 validated my newfound enthusiasm.  The husky growl, thunderous voice and outsize personality of Bruders remind me of the country star Wynonna Judd.  (Just in case you’re wondering, that’s a compliment.)  I’m extremely skeptical of the clichéd rock-singer-shifts-to-jazz transformation, but Bruders makes the grade.

Shinn recently returned to Kansas City following a stint in New York City.  (His first, second and third albums were reviewed at Plastic Sax.)  Playing as well as ever, Shinn adapted his approach for each selection, seamlessly deviating between barrelhouse piano, cocktail lounge tinkling and elegant swing.  He played the role of Ralph Sharon to Bruders’ Tony Bennett and the Tedd Firth to her Marilyn Maye in the winning cabaret-style outing that merited more than an audience of ten. 

A stale repertoire is the duo’s sole flaw.  I’ll need fewer warhorses like “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” and more left-field selections like “Love Rescue Me” if there's to be any chance of experiencing another spiritual epiphany the next time I catch the tandem.

Partial first set setlist (I missed the initial selections): Corcovada (Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars); Why Don’t You Do Right?; Crazy; Route 66; Dream a Little Dream of Me; Georgia on My Mind; It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing); The Very Thought of You

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Now's the Time: Der lange Schatten

Pianist Håvard Wiik, clarinetist Michael Thieke and bassist Antonio Borghini will perform at the Blue Room on Monday, May 20, as Der lange Schatten.  The appearance of the Berlin based trio is sponsored by Goethe Pop Up.  The organization brought the Chicago Plan to the Blue Room last month.  (Plastic Sax review.)  Wiik plays a solo piece in the embedded video.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Since the founding of Plastic Sax in 2007, I’ve made a point of staying out of the business of The Kansas City Jazz Ambassadors.  With apologies to the Plastic Sax readers who have encouraged me to comment on the ongoing behind-the-scenes drama at the organization, I’m not about to start now.

*Justin Binek and John Stafford discussed Kansas City Kansas Community College’s jazz program on a morning television program.

*Jefferson City’s News Tribune published an article about Mike Ning.

*Milt Abel, Jr. recalls his father in a profile at The Daily Beast.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Drew Williams- How wild is it that in New York, there are entire jazz scenes that think music made after 1940 is way too hip??? Like, if your pants don’t go up to your nipples, what are you even doing?

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Grading the 2019-20 Season of the Folly Jazz Series

The Folly Jazz Series is a reassuring beacon of consistency on a jazz scene in which other longstanding institutions seem to be crumbling.  Unveiled last month, the strong 2019-20 bookings should provide Kansas City’s devotees of mainstream jazz with solace.  Season subscribers can purchase tickets on July 26.  Tickets to individual shows will be available August 16.

Branford Marsalis
October 4, 2019               
Saxophonist and bandleader Branford Marsalis is the most consistently interesting member of the first family of American music.  Marsalis will presumably appear with his quartet, one of the finest longstanding groups in jazz.
Grade: A-

Stefon Harris & Blackout
October 26, 2019                 
The vibraphonist and bandleader Stefon Harris is a self-described “thought leader.”  One of his best ideas is an insistence on surrounding himself with stellar young musicians.  In a 2008 appearance at the Folly, Harris’ band included the soon-to-be stars Logan Richardson and Marc Cary.  Here’s hoping this version of Blackout is equally auspicious.
Grade: B+

Pedrito Martinez
December 13, 2019           
Pedrito Martinez was named percussionist of the year by the Jazz Journalists Association last week.  The recent Tiny Desk Concert performance by the native of Cuba also showcases his engaging singing.
Grade: B+

Stacey Kent
February 22 , 2020               
While she’s since ceded the titled to Cécile McLorin Salvant, Stacey Kent was hailed as the most exciting new vocalist in jazz a few years ago.  The feathery touch of the American who rose to fame in England remains delightful.
Grade: A-

Luciana Souza
March 7, 2020
The Brazilian vocalist Luciana Souza is married to the noted producer Larry Klein, an association that partly explains her exceptionally refined adult pop sound.  Souza should thrill Karrin Allyson’s many fans in Kansas City.
Grade: B

John Pizzarelli
April 24, 2020                     
John Pizzarelli is a crowd-pleasing traditionalist.  The most recent album by the guitarist and vocalist is a tribute to Nat King Cole.
Grade: B-

Plastic Sax conducted the same exercise in 2018, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, May 3, 2019

Now's the Time: The Heartland Trio

The Iowa based Heartland Trio is touring in support of its 2018 debut album Year One.  The ensemble led by bassist Hannah Marks will combine deep grooves with delicate folk textures at Mod Gallery on Thursday, May 9.  Details are available here.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*An album review in the June issue of Downbeat suggests that Hazel, the new release by Drew Williams’ Wing Walker Orchestra, is “concurrently vibrant, accessible and subtly sophisticated.”

*Footage of Arturo Sandoval’s concert at the Folly Theater is shared by Joe Dimino.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Kansas City Fed- Today is #InternationalJazzDay! For a fun, educational activity, read "Concert Tours are Where the Real Money Is" with your child and discuss how music artists combine live tours with recorded music to earn their living. (link:

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Concert Review: The Chicago Plan at the Blue Room

The American Jazz Museum described the sound of the Chicago Plan as “loose and cool" in a social media post promoting the avant-garde ensemble’s April 26 appearance at the Blue Room.  Those aren’t the words anyone in the audience of about 100 for the ensemble’s first set would have used.  The pairing of the adjectives “agitated and incendiary” or “chaotic and combustible” better represent the ensemble’s attack.

The extremely rare booking of free jazz stalwarts in Kansas City was made possible by the well-financed Goethe Pop Up.  A billboard in the Crossroads District advertised the concert.  The gambit may not have worked.  Aside from affiliates of the Goethe group and the locally based musicians Bill McKemy, Adam Schlozman, Brian Steever and Rich Wheeler who alternated sets with the Chicago Plan, I may have been the sole enthusiast of Fred Lonberg-Holm, Steve Swell, Gebhard Ullmann and Michael Zerang to pay the $10 cover charge.

With collective recording credits that include sessions with Tim Berne, Anthony Braxton, El-P, Ken Vandermark, Wilco and John Zorn, the members of the Chicago Plan are all-stars in the new music community.  They validated their reputations as elite noise-makers.  Lonberg-Holm, a self-described “anti-cellist,” provided the biggest surprises.  He contributed ominous electronic enhancements, made his instrument sound like a rusty door hinge and summoned the ghost of the MC5 guitarist Fred “Sonic” Smith.

Steve Swell served as a maniacal master of ceremonies.  His snarky attempts to engage the dozens of high school choir students from Iowa who filled the back half of the club fell flat, but nearly everything else he and his colleagues attempted was explosive.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Now's the Time: Arturo Sandoval

Arturo Sandoval regularly rubs shoulders with other legends.  The trumpeter collaborated with icons including Plácido Domingo and Ariana Grande on his 2018 album Ultimate Duets.  He works with the pop star Prince Royce in the embedded video.  Sandoval will focus on Latin jazz at the Folly Theater on Saturday, April 27.  Every area gig is listed on The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Rod Fleeman, Gerald Spaits and Todd Strait are praised in a letter to the editor published by The Kansas City Star.

*Joe Dimino shares footage of a performance by the River Cow Orchestra.

*The Bad Plus, Danilo Perez, Chris Potter and Craig Taborn are among the musicians performing at the Iowa City Jazz Festival in July.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Melissa Bower- Great music this weekend at the @424Lounge - quickly becoming an African-American-owned, veteran-owned #BlackBusiness icon in #leavenworth #kansas - check out their website for a schedule of musicians. #kcjazz #KCMO

*From a press release: The teen Olathe saxophonist Evan Kappelman “has earned the honor of being selected as one of 22 of the brightest young jazz musicians from across the U.S. for the 2019 roster of Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Jazz Orchestra... this summer he’ll be training with world-class jazz musicians and performing at Carnegie Hall before embarking on NYO Jazz’s debut tour to Asia.

*From a press release: KU Jazz Ensemble I, under the direction of Dan Gailey, was named the best graduate college large jazz ensemble in the country in the 42 Annual Downbeat Student Music Awards. DownBeat also recognized Alex Annan, a master’s student in jazz composition from Omaha, Nebraska… Under Gailey’s leadership, the KU Jazz Studies Program has received 27 DownBeat Student Music Awards since 1992.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Monday, April 22, 2019

Concert Review: The Joshua Redman Quartet at the Folly Theater

Joshua Redman is one of the elite jazz musicians of his generation partly because of his versatility and range.  He showcased the conventional side of his talent at the Folly Theater on Thursday, April 11.  The celebrated saxophonist, 50, and his longtime touring band of pianist Aaron Goldberg, bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Gregory Hutchinson, played more than 90 minutes of mainstream jazz for an audience of more than 600.  Five of the nine songs on the setlist were drawn from the group’s strait-laced new album Come What May.  Rather than offering the thrill of the new, the quartet demonstrated that mainstream jazz needn’t sound routine.  Even at his dullest, Redman is one of the most exciting men in jazz.

Setlist: Circle of Life, How We Do, Come What May, Shed, I’ll Go Mine, Bloomdido, Stardust, DGAF, Yesterdays

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Now's the Time: The Chicago Plan

Trombonist Steve Swell and saxophonist Gebhard Ullmann will perform at the Blue Room on Friday, April 26, under the auspices of The Chicago Plan.  The extremely rare avant-garde booking at the Blue Room is part of the ongoing Goethe Pop Up festival in Kansas City.  Swell and Ullman will be joined by cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm and drummer Michael Zerang.  Every area gig is listed at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*The editorial board of The Kansas City Star chastises the city for spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on last year’s Open Spaces festival.  A recap of the artistically audacious but woefully attended festival is included in Plastic Sax’s end-of-the year survey of Kansas City’s jazz scene.

*Not a single Kansas City musician or institution is among the dozens of nominees in the Jazz Journalists Association’s JJA Jazz Awards 2019.

*Logan Richardson’s return to the Blue Room is previewed by The Kansas City Star.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Charlie Parker- Charlie Parker with Strings: Alternate Takes comes 70 years since the initial recordings & the Record Store Day LP set comes in a blue vinyl matching the updated original David Stone Martin cover. Exclusively available 4/13 at participating record stores.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Concert Review: Assif Tsahar and Tatsuya Nakatani at the 1900 Building

An Israeli saxophonist and a Japanese percussionist walk into an office building in Kansas…  It’s not the opening line of an offensive joke.  Instead, the unlikely scenario resulted in a bracing avant-garde recital at the 1900 Building on Wednesday, April 10.  Longtime friends and collaborators Assif Tsahar and Tatsuya Nakatani played two brief but incendiary sets.  I paid $21 to join three dozen people at the improvisatory freakout. 

Tsahar wailed like a free jazz superhero on tenor saxophone as Nakatani banged on drums, sawed on gongs and did untoward things to cymbals.  I’ll admit to later goofing on Nakatani’s manic style with pots, pans and utensils in my kitchen, but I can’t come close to replicating his expert form of mayhem.  Even when pieces of Nakatani’s kit accidentally fell to the floor, the timing of each crash was perfect.

I understand why skeptics doubt the sanity of audiences who intentionally subject themselves to free jazz.  “Is it even music?”  Yet the question answers itself.  I may not encounter more vital music in 2019 than the cacophonous commotion created by Tasahar and Nakatani in Mission Woods, Kansas.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Now's the Time: Logan Richardson

Logan Richardson is one of a handful of musicians from the Kansas City area who have been featured on an episode of NPR’s illustrious Tiny Desk Concert series.  The saxophonist’s 2018 contribution to the showcase is embedded here.  Richardson performs at Blue Room on Thursday, April 18.  The concert is one of the day’s 18 gigs listed on The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Ernest Melton is featured in a brief video profile created by Google.

*Joe Dimino captured footage of Johnson County Community College Night at Black Dolphin.

*Sue Vicory recently uploaded her hour-long documentary Kansas City Jazz & Blues; Past, Present & Future to YouTube.

*The Kansas City Star includes an upcoming performance by the Joshua Redman Quartet among its weekly concert previews.

*Moon Hooch will perform at the Encore Room on July 10.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Uptown Arts Bar- Tonight and every Thursday 7pm-1am All That Jazz Karaoke at @UptownArtsBar

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Matt Otto, Danny Embrey, Sam Copeland and Brian Steever at Black Dolphin

The ticket I buy at the box office of the Folly Theater on Thursday for a concert by the Joshua Redman Quartet will almost surely be money well spent.  The saxophonist deserves his status as one of the biggest stars in mainstream jazz.

I wasn’t required to open my wallet to catch a similarly refined quartet on Wednesday.  Performances at Black Dolphin are always free.  Saxophonist Matt Otto,  guitarist Danny Embrey, bassist Sam Copeland and drummer Brian Steever were staggeringly good. 

Otto immediately became one of Kansas City’s finest musicians upon moving to the area in 2009.  Embrey has a chameleon-like tendency to play at the level of his collaborators, a trait that resulted in a magnificent effort on Wednesday. 

A $40 seat in the center of the second row is currently available for Redman’s concert.  I hope to snag it Thursday.  While I know that Redman’s showmanship will be enormously entertaining, I’m less confident that the star will equal the musical standard set by Otto last week.

Otto’s quartet returns to on Black Dolphin on Wednesday, April 10, Wednesday, April 17, and Wednesday, April 24.  I shared a portion of an Otto solo at Instagram.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Now's the Time: Joshua Redman

The modern-day jazz giant Joshua Redman last performed in Kansas City with the Bad Plus in 2016.  (I reviewed the concert for The Kansas City Star.)  The saxophonist was in equally fine form as a headliner of the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival in New York in 2017.  (I reviewed the event at Plastic Sax.)   Redman will be joined by pianist Aaron Goldberg, bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Gregory Hutchinson at the Folly Theater on Thursday, April 11.  The concert is one of more than 20 of the evening’s performances listed at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*A critic for a British newspaper praises Hermon Mehari in a concert review that suggests “our side of the pond is where jazz is at in 2019.”

*Marilyn Maye’s new show in New York is titled “I Wish I Were 90 Again!”.

* Drew Williams and Ben Leifer chatted with Joe Dimino.

*Jazz St. Louis is presenting April and May performances by the Branford Marsalis Quartet, Marcus Strickland with Ron Miles and Matt Wilson, the Brad Mehldau Trio, the Pedrito Martinez Group, Arturo O’Farrill, Jazzmeia Horn and the John Pizzarelli Trio with Catherine Russell.  Not one of these stars is slated to appear in Kansas City.

*Tweet o’ the Week: UMKC MNL- Are you around campus this week? Check out one (or all) of our exhibits! Floor G: Focusing on Faces, A Life in a Year Part 3 Floor 3: Jay McShann's Kansas City Floor 4: Poetics of Invention, a traveling exhibit from OU

*April’s gig listings are posted at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Ears in Arrears

A Kansas City musician posted a derisive comment in response to a video clip I shared on Instagram documenting a dissonant performance at the Big Ears Festival.  His rejection of boundary-pushing music reflects the conservatism that often makes Kansas City’s jazz scene seem like the land that time forgot.

I recently joined 18,000 people at the Big Ears Festival because the festival was loaded with prominent jazz artists who haven’t played Kansas City in the past ten years, or in many cases, have never set foot inside the city limits.  The long list of luminaries at the 2019 edition of the festival included the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Nik Bärtsch, Tim Berne, Mathias Eick, Mary Halvorson, Shabaka Hutchings, Nicole Mitchell, Evan Parker, Ned Rothenberg, Leo Wadada Smith, Craig Taborn, David Torn, Ralph Towner and Nate Wooley.  If these cutting-edge musicians aren’t going to come to Kansas City, I’m going to go to them.  (My capsule reviews of the 30 concerts I caught at Big Ears are here.

Club owners and concert presenters aren’t to blame.  If there was a hearty appetite for forward-thinking jazz, they wouldn’t hesitate to dish it up.  Yet as proven time after time after time, there’s simply not much of an audience for the sound of the moment in Kansas City. 

It’s a civic embarrassment that the profoundly influential stars Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah and Robert Glasper haven’t appeared in town in the past ten years.  Even the Lee’s Summit native Pat Metheny avoids his hometown.  Kansas City’s dogged adherence to convention compelled revolutionary artists ranging from Charlie Parker to Logan Richardson to establish their reputations elsewhere.

Much of the jazz performed in Kansas City today wouldn’t have sounded out of place sixty years ago.  And to be fair, that’s not an entirely bad thing.  Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, John Coltrane’s Giant Steps, Jimmy Smith’s The Sermon! and Count Basie and Billy Eckstine’s Basie/Eckstine Incorporated were released in 1959.  If you’re going to get stuck in the past, it doesn’t get much better than that.  But a full immersion in the sound of 2019 requires traveling to cities like Knoxville, London, Chicago and New York.

(Original image of David Torn, Craig Taborn, Vijay Iyer, Nik Bärtsch, Steve Lake and Nate Chinen by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Now's the Time: Renee Rosnes

Renee Rosnes, one of the most accomplished mainstream pianists of the last 30 years, will perform with Dan Gailey’s KU Jazz Ensemble I at the Lied Center on Thursday, April 4.  Rosnes leads an all-star band in the embedded clip.  Thursday’s concert is one of hundreds of gigs listed at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar in April.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Bobby Watson reveals that “I plan on retiring from academia and going back to touring full-time and writing and composing and living my life like I used to” in a video feature created by The Kansas City Star.

*Charles Williams’ Flavors of Jazz album was reviewed by a critic for The Toledo Blade.

*Logan Richardson makes an appearance on Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah’s new album Ancestral Recall.

*The Kansas City Star previewed a concert by the Manhattan Transfer and Take 6.

*The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum’s 4th Annual Jazz & Jackie Celebration includes performances by Alex Bugnon and Eric Darius on April 13.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Corey O- If you’re downtown, check out green lady lounge for jazz and manifesto for cocktails in a speakeasy

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Album Review: Dave Scott- In Search of Hipness

The great sage Willie Dixon insisted that “you can’t judge a book by looking at the cover.”  If I hadn’t already seen the former Kansas City area resident Dave Scott perform several times, the lamentable title and uninspired album art of In Search of Hipness would have compelled me to take a hard pass on his new release.

My shallowness would have caused me to missed out on of the new year’s most intriguing albums.  The packaging may not be hip, but trumpeter's off-kilter New York City chamber jazz is extremely stylish.  Even as the recording echoes the past masters Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Andrew Hill, it’s entirely au currant.  Violinist Sarah Bernstein, guitarist Nate Radley, pianist Jacob Sacks, bassist David Ambrosio and drummer Mark Ferber help Scott create up-to-the-minute soundscapes. 

Dixon also proclaimed that “you can’t judge right by looking at the wrong.”  Adventurous jazz fans shouldn’t allow the surface imperfections of In Search of Hipness to dissuade them from appreciating Scott’s extraordinarily beautiful work.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Now's the Time: The Jim Lower Big Band

The weekly Jim Lower Big Band session recently migrated from Parker & Vine to Black Dolphin.  The ensemble performs at the latter club on Tuesdays.  Every area gig is listed on The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*That’s My Jazz, a short documentary in which “Milt Abel II, a world-renowned pastry chef, reflects on his relationship with his deceased father Milton Abel Sr., famed Kansas City jazz musician,” will be screened at a film festival in New York City next month.

*The Pitch reports that John Scott, the man behind the jazz venues Green Lady Lounge and Black Dolphin, has assumed control of operations at the midtown space formerly occupied by Uptown Arts Bar.

*KC Studio published a profile of Marcus Lewis.

*Alex Abramovitz chatted with Joe Dimino.

*The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis is returning to the Midland theatre to play a Christmas-themed concert on December 5.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Tony’s Kansas City- The Uptown Arts Bar Was Always Sketchy But Recently Denizens Of The Establishment Had Failed To Inspire Creativity And Now More Sober Management Hopes For A Turnaround. More Backhanded Hints About Why This Biz FAILED As Broadway Corridor Struggles

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, March 17, 2019

The 411 on 424 Lounge

A swank jazz club opened in January.  It’s not in downtown Kansas City, nor is it situated in an affluent suburban development.  424 Lounge is in Leavenworth, a town closely associated with a famous penitentiary and a large military installation.  424 Lounge may alter that perception. 

On Saturday, March 9, I paid a $8 cover charge to hear a sublime performance by trombonist Jason Goudeau, keyboardist Eddie Moore, bassist Seth Lee and bassist Mike Warren.  Similarly auspicious artists perform every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the handsome, old-school venue.

The room isn’t merely stylish by local standards.  424 Lounge would be one of the nicer jazz venues in New York City.  The friendliness of somewhat uneven service and the fine acoustics are commendable.  Situated 30 miles from downtown Kansas City, 424 Lounge doesn’t lend itself to spontaneous visits, but it’s well worth the trek.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, March 15, 2019

Now's the Time: Adam Nussbaum's Lead Belly Project

Jazz renditions of songs associated with the blues icon Lead Belly doesn’t seem like a promising proposition.  Yet Adam Nussbaum validates the unusual concept with his Lead Belly Project.  The drummer will be joined by guitarist Steve Cardenas (his third Kansas City appearance in four months!), guitarist Nate Radley and saxophonist Ohad Talmor in the intimate Gospel Lounge at Knuckleheads on Thursday, March 21.  The performance is one of the date’s 19 shows listed on The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*The story behind a 1953 photograph of Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus and Roy Haynes is told by Peter Facini of The New York Times.

*Joe Dimino documented a performance by Kerry Politzer at Black Dolphin.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Ben Putano- I'm not hating… but I think if someone came to KC for a Jazz-related vacation they'd leave disappointed. And that's a shame.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Concert Review: Ryan Keberle & Catharsis at Mod Gallery

Camila Meza sang “the order is rapidly fading” in a ravishingly melancholy rendition of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’” at Mod Gallery on Sunday, March 3.  How I wish it were so!

While the celebrated Chilean musician and her bandmates- trombonist Ryan Keberle, saxophonist John Ellis, bassist Matt Clohesy and drummer Eric Doob- were playing what Keberle characterized as political “protest music”- I couldn’t help but apply the sentiment to the group’s progressive musical approach.

Kansas City remains largely impervious to the charms of forward-thinking improvised music, an aversion reflected by the show’s attendance.  Less than 20 people braved frigid conditions to pay the $15 cover charge.  That’s even fewer than at the group’s free performance at Black Dolphin in 2018.

As Downbeat’s review of the band’s performance two days earlier in St. Louis and a 2014 appearance on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert indicate, Catharsis is one of the most notable jazz-based touring groups of recent years.

With its surfeit of star power, emphasis on imaginative arrangements and commitment to banishing standard practices, the group resembles a modern-day Weather Report.  The abundance of talent occasionally led to frustration.  Individual expression was repressed in favor of a commitment to ensemble work.  (I posted one of Meza's brief solo statements to Instagram.)

Ellis didn’t let loose until the last set was almost over.  The saxophonist’s solo on “Fooled and Pushed Apart,” a composition inspired by Langston Hughes’ poem “Let America Be America Again,” was as gloriously poignant as Ray Charles’ singing on “America the Beautiful.”  It was the sort of inspiring statement that everyone in Kansas City deserves to hear.  Yet for the time being, the times are a-changin’ elsewhere.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Now's the Time: Kurt Elling

I gushed about Kurt Elling in a preview of his Saturday, March 9, concert at the Folly Theater for The Kansas City Star, so there’s no need to embarrass myself a second time in this spotlight.  The vocalist will be joined by guitarist John McLean, pianist John Beasley, bassist Clark Sommers and drummer Adonis Rose.  The show is one of 27 of Saturday’s engagements listed at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Chris Tickner, the man responsible for the jazz bookings at Johnnie’s Jazz Bar & Grille and B&B Theatres Liberty 12 Cinema, pitches his business on a television news program.

*Tim Finn conducted a question-and-answer session with Shay Estes.

*Rick Hellman objects to The Kansas City Star’s editorial about stasis at the American Jazz Museum in a letter to the newspaper.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Wing Walker Music- YESSS. I'm so excited that Hazel is listed along with all of these incredible artists as one of the Best Jazz releases on @Bandcamp for February 2019. Thanks to Dave Sumner!(@BirdIsTheWorm)

*The Kansas City Jazz Calendar lists all of March’s bookings.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Album Review: Norman Brown- The Highest Act of Love

I tried on a posh fur coat in a bid to amuse my family and friends at a holiday party in December,  While I got plenty of laughs for modeling something I would never otherwise consider wearing, the joke was on me.  I discovered that donning the pelts of dozens of dead animals feels really good.  While I’ve been conditioned to think less of people who wear fur, I suddenly comprehended the appeal.

Smooth jazz carries a similar stigma.  Condescending detractors deride the form as an intellectually barren music intended for dimwitted sensualists.  Whatever.

Anyone who willingly hits play on Norman Brown’s eleventh solo album The Highest Act of Love will quickly become too blissed out to worry about such trivial matters.  The guitarist from Kansas City expertly establishes an impeccably relaxing vibe.  What’s wrong with that?

While The Highest Act of Love employs contemporary production techniques, it’s really just an extension of the sultry albums George Benson recorded for the CTI label in the early 1970s.  Brown emphasizes mood rather than technique.  Even so, selections including the title track make it clear that he’s capable of playing with as much finesse as Benson, Lee Ritenour and his Kansas City contemporary Will Matthews.

I’ll understand if you tag me with spray paint should you catch me luxuriating in a fur coat next winter.  I only ask that you don’t damage my headphones.  I might be basking in the comforting warmth of The Highest Act of Love.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Now's the Time: Kerry Politzer

Kerry Politzer, an exemplary representative of Portland’s thriving jazz scene, will perform at Black Dolphin at Wednesday, March 6, and Thursday, March 7.  She’ll be joined by saxophonist David Valdez, bassist Jeff Harshbarger and drummer Anthony Pinciotti.  All of March’s gigs are posted at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*The editorial board of The Kansas City Star questions the wisdom of Kansas City allotting more than $1 million of its next fiscal-year budget to the American Jazz Museum.

*Kurt Elling chatted with Steve Kraske on KCUR’s Up To Date.

*Controversy continues to swirl around the Garment House, the multi-story entertainment complex that includes the jazz-oriented Hush Speakeasy.

*Dave Scott chatted with Joe Dimino.

*Bill Frisell, Thomas Morgan and Rudy Royston will perform at the Wichita Jazz Festival on March 30.  (Tip via PF.)

*Tweet o’ the Week: Grant- The Jazz Museum & NLB Museum next door deserve as much tax revenue as it takes to sustain them. Such rich culture and important history on display. They're critical in maintaining the identify of Kansas City, although it's astounding how many KC suburbanites haven't visited them.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Concert Review: Ben Allison's Think Free at Mod Gallery

Ben Allison menacingly lurched toward Steve Cardenas at Mod Gallery on Sunday, February 17.  An instant before it seemed as if the bassist was about to strike the guitarist who was shredding with unconscious abandon, Allison pulled back and smiled.

The theatrical gesture reflected the threatening tone of the first set of the touring quartet from New York.  Violence was implied in Cardenas’ furious guitar attack.  Allison’s electric bass rumbled like a tank brigade while the drumming of Allan Mednard ricocheted off the bare walls of the room like the blasts of a machine gun.  Trumpeter Shane Endsley of Kneebody was often overpowered by his bandmates.  (Here’s a representative snippet.)

The volume was justified.  The longtime collaborators continue to make vital and consistently surprising music.  While I was eager to hear a few more selections featuring Allison on acoustic bass in subsequent sets, I abandoned the audience of about 60 at Mod Gallery for a different type of thrill a few blocks away.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Now's the Time: Camila Meza

The extraordinary contributions of Camila Meza played a large role in making a show by Ryan Keberle & Catharsis at Black Dolphin my third favorite jazz performance of 2018.  The multi-talented Chilean possesses innate star power.  She’ll further her rewarding collaboration with Keberle at Mod Gallery on Sunday, March 3.  The group also headlines the KU School of Music’s 42nd Jazz Festival on Friday, March 1, and Saturday, March 2.  Hundreds of additional gigs are listed on The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Laura Spencer of KCUR reports on the resolution of the lawsuit that’s tarnished the reputation of the Mutual Musician Foundation.

*Eddie Moore chatted with Brian Ellison on KCUR’s Central Standard program.

*Joe Dimino plugs the “Big Bands Are Better” revue and documents a performance by the Brad Cox Octet.

*Not a single Kansas City or Kansas City-affiliated artist is mentioned in JazzTimes2018 Expanded Critics’ Poll Results.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Sarah Kelly- God Kansas City would be such a haven if I actually liked jazz music

*I booked one the last available rooms in the fancy convention hotel at the hub of the Big Ears Festival in Knoxville next month.  I still need a roommate.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Album Review: Karrin Allyson- Some of That Sunshine

Even by the standards of an admirably restless artist, Karrin Allyson’s 2014 concert at the Folly Theater was a startling surprise.  She traded swing-based jazz and interpretations of Brazilian standards for straightforward adult pop.  (I reviewed the concert for The Kansas City Star.)  Allyson returned to a jazz orientation the subsequent times she’s performed in her former hometown of Kansas City.  I was beginning to think I’d fabricated the tone of the 2014 concert out of whole cloth.  Her latest album Some of That Sunshine indicates I’m not crazy.  Released six months ago, the project documents Allyson’s intriguing foray into the sophisticated realm of sophisticated singer-songwriters like Judy Collins, Shawn Colvin and James Taylor.  Her 13 original compositions sound as if they belong on the impeccably curated playlist of an urbane coffee shop. 

(Original image of Karrin Allyson and Houston Person performing at the Gem Theater in 2015 by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Now's the Time: Sammy Miller and the Congregation

Jazz musicians who embrace zany showmanship tend to be older men and women.  Young artists are likely to dismiss clowning as passé.  Sammy Miller and the Congregation defy the trend.  The members of the New York based band insist that “we play joyful jazz- music that feels good.”  The group will entertain at Knuckleheads on Saturday, February 16.  The show is one of the innumerable gigs listed at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Zach Albetta interviewed Sam Wisman for his Working Drummer podcast.

*Bobby McFerrin and Pablo Ziegler and among the bookings in the 2018-19 season of Carlsen Center Presents at Johnson County Community College.

*The owner of a new jazz club in Omaha suggests that “(from) Kansas City all the way down to Tulsa, there's a Midwest run right now.”

*A few days after being lauded at Plastic Sax, Drew Williams’ Wing Walker Orchestra received an enthusiastic notice in The New York Times.

*The KU Jazz Festival is slated for Friday, March 1, and Saturday, March 2.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Liam Hogan- woke up this morning & checked all the texts i sent out last night, realized i mixed up the name of green lady & black dolphin, & had been telling friends to meet me at “the black ladies lounge” all night

(Original image of a page from a Kansas City-themed puzzle book published in 2002 by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Roommate Wanted

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.)

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Now's the Time: Kandace Springs

Kandace Springs will perform in Kansas City for the second time in seven months when she appears as the Folly Jazz Series’ “spotlight artist” on Friday, February 15.  While the embedded track is only tangentially related to jazz, Springs will likely emphasize her swing orientation at the Folly Theater.  Her performance is one of almost 500 gigs listed on the The Kansas City Jazz Calendar in February.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*The Kansas City Star and WDAF-TV report on the shooting death of a man in the Jazz District on Saturday night.

*Laura Spencer of KCUR relays details about the lawsuit that’s rocked the Mutual Musicians Foundation.

*Bukeka Blakemore chatted with Joe Dimino.  Dimino also documented a performance by Lonnie McFadden at Black Dolphin.

*Pedrito Martinez spoke to Aarik Danielsen of the Columbia Daily Tribune in advance of his concert with Alfredo Rodriquez at Stephens College on February 7.

*Pat Metheny was voted top guitarist in JazzTimes2018 readers poll.

*Comedian Negin Farsad enjoyed jazz at the Green Lady Lounge and the Majestic during a visit to Kansas City.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Pat Metheny- Pat Metheny is launching a new playing environment called “Side Eye” for this upcoming season. The first edition of Side Eye will feature James Francies and Nate Smith. Tickets to the 2019 US Tour are available now.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Monday, February 4, 2019

Album Review: Drew Williams' Wing Walker Orchestra- Hazel

The New York based Drew Williams recently informed Plastic Sax that “I didn’t really start playing jazz music seriously until college so I didn’t play that much in KC while living there, except for the odd Blue Room jam session.”  Williams made up for lost time.  Created with his Wing Walker Orchestra, Williams’ new album Hazel announces the irrefutably significant arrival of an auspicious talent.

Produced by trombonist Alan Ferber, Hazel compares favorably to the output of Snarky Puppy and Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society at the vanguard of improvisational large ensembles.  As with those groups, Wing Walker Orchestra is susceptible to accusations of intellectual fussiness.  Yet Hazel isn’t merely the sort of clinical exercise associated with the academic products of music schools.  (Williams honed his craft at Truman State  University and New York University.)

A riotous arrangement of Tune-Yards' "Look Around" reflects the inclusive intent of Hazel.  “High” sounds as if Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood is sitting in with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra at the Village Vanguard.  A portion of “Lying (or the Will)” reflects the influence of the late Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson.  The most accessible moments are balanced by wooly solos that will resonate with aficionados of the Vijay Iyer Sextet.  (Here's the album trailer.)

Williams grew up in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, the town that produced the jazz giant Pat Metheny.  While Hazel isn’t likely to catapult Williams to Metheny’s level of acclaim, it’s a consequential step in that direction.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Now's the Time: "Big Bands Are Better"

The starpower at Kansas City jazz clubs will be slightly dimmer than usual for much of February.  Many of the town’s heavy hitters are part of the ”Big Bands Are Better” production at Musical Theater Heritage.  The show opens Thursday, Feb. 7.  All of February’s jazz gigs are posted at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Lori Chandler ponders the relationship between jazz performers and audiences.

*An outing by Havilah Bruders and Charles Williams is praised by a blogger.

*Chris Burnett is profiled by The Leavenworth Times.

*Joe Dimino documented the Yellowjackets’ concert at the Folly Theater.  He also attended a jam session hosted by the Waldo Jazz Collective.

*Dean Minderman of St. Louis Jazz Notes previews a performance by Jamie Branch.

*Tweet o’ the Week: KansasCityJazzCynic- It seems as though if it were not for the support from other jazz musicians, this city would have no support for their jazz musicians..

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Fake Fest

What would an optimal three-day festival consisting of jazz artists based in or affiliated with Kansas City look like?  I used a Coachella lineup generator to answer that question.  While it’s marred by unfortunate omissions, I’m pleased by my effort.  I was forced to rearrange the order of the lineups and make a few odd name abbreviations to fit the template.  For instance, Tech N9ne backed by We the People should be the headliner of the groove-centric third day, but the number of characters didn’t fit.  Neither was I able to indicate that I wanted the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra to back Marilyn Maye on the swing-based opening night.  Three-day passes to the hypothetical event in the Crossroads Districts are $125.  Single-day admission is $50.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Now's the Time: Havilah Bruders

Havilah Bruders is among the many Kansas City musicians who flit between genres.  The vocalist is known to the rock community as a member of Cadillac Flambé.  Theatergoers know Bruders for her appearances in musicals.  Bruders will display her jazz artistry at Chaz on Friday, January 25, and at a jazz brunch at Johnnie’s Jazz Bar & Grille on Sunday, January 27.  All of the region’s listings are posted on The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Karen E. Griffin of the American Jazz Museum hosts Kansas City’s “The Weekly Report” video communiqué.

*The Leavenworth Times follows up on its initial story about the 424 Lounge.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Christian Swan: BOOM SHAKA LAKA, GOD IS GOOD! The CUR3 is taking off today for it's first trip to LA. We will be playing at NAMM for CTMonitors and networking throughout the city. If you'll be at #NAMM, catch us at booth #15728.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Concert Review: Al Foster's 75th Birthday Party at Smoke Jazz & Supper Club

I hugged Al Foster last night.  Anyone familiar with my Asperger’s-like traits knows such embraces are out of character for me, but the extraordinarily gracious drummer seemed to enjoy greeting well-wishers at the conclusion of the last of three sets at Smoke Jazz & Supper Club

In an engagement billed as his 75th birthday party, Foster lead a band of trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, saxophonist Danye Stephens, pianist Adam Birnbaum, and bassist Doug Weiss.  The superstar saxophonist Chris Potter sat in.  It was swinging.

Less than 20 people heard the vital set by the auspicious musicians.  The $40 cover and $20 bar minimum were prohibitive.  Sure enough, a couple dozen people poured into the club for the subsequent free after-midnight set by a band of young musicians who took advantage of the opportunity to impress Foster.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Now's the Time: Lisa Henry

Vocalist Lisa Henry will join a quartet led by keyboardist Eddie Moore at Polsky Theatre on Sunday, January 20.  The concert is part of the Winterlude series at Johnson County Community College.  It's one of 17 events on Sunday listed at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Justin Wilson, the heir to Soundtrek Studios’ jazz-based legacy and the owner of Sound 81 Productions, is the subject of an audio profile created for KCUR.

*The Leavenworth Times reports that 424 Lounge, a venue with live jazz three nights a week, is slated to open this week.

*Forthcoming shows presented by Take Five Music Productions include Ben Allison & Think Free (February 17 at Mod Gallery) and Ryan Keberle & Catharsis (March 3 at Mod Gallery). 

*The latest edition of Downbeat contains a 13-page spread about 25 of the “world’s best jazz cities”.  Kansas City didn’t make the cut. 

*Tweet o’ the Week: Alex Hutchinson- Ha -- well, I am heading to Kansas City next week, and hope to check out the American Jazz Museum, which has the plastic alto that Charlie Parker played at the famous Massey Hall concert in Toronto in 1953. Maybe someone will want to talk to me about that.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Concert Review: Ben Tervort, Matt Otto and Brian Steever at Westport Coffee House

I’m considering forgoing future trips to New York City.  I periodically visit the jazz capital partly to hear music that isn’t performed in Kansas City.  I was thrilled, consequently, when Ben Trevort’s Classically Trained filled a crucial component of that void at Westport Coffee House last Tuesday. 

Bassist Tervort, saxophonist Matt Otto and drummer Brian Steever played an hour of impressionistic, European-style jazz.  The rhythmically unconstrained trio shifted between joyous swing and unhurried avant-garde musings on original material and standards.

Trevort judiciously gave his bandmates free reign.  Listening to Otto delineate the melody of a ballad is akin to watching a masterful Japanese artist paint a wondrous landscape.  And every time I see Steever perform I’m certain that he’s my favorite drummer in town.

Unlike in New York City, attending Tuesday’s show didn’t require navigating a subway system, paying a drink minimum or battling a crowd.  In fact, all of the people who paid the $10 cover to catch the first set could have fit inside a taxicab.  It’s too late to cancel my forthcoming trip to New York, but Tervort’s adventurous endeavors in Kansas City may play a decisive role in my subsequent travel plans.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Now's the Time: New York Voices

New York Voices will perform at Community Christian Church on Tuesday, January 22.  Details are available here.  Out of respect for the event’s organizers, I elected not to embed the group’s “colorful” rendition of “Traffic Jam.”  Every area jazz performance is listed at The Kansas City Jazz Calendar.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Ernest Melton is featured at the site of Quincy Jones' streaming entertainment startup Quest TV.  The photo that accompanies the article looks familiar.

*Not a single release by a Kansas City artist earned a spot on the list of the Top 50 albums in The 2018 NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll.

*The man behind Plastic Sax extolled Logan Richardson on KCUR’s Up To Date program last week.

*John Stafford spoke to Joe Dimino about the new album by a vocal ensemble at Kansas City Kansas Community College.

*In her guest editorial about the Open Spaces festival for The Kansas City Star, Anne Gatschet writes that “(t)ourists are unlikely to say, ‘I’m going to Kansas City. Can’t wait to see the Mutual Musicians’ Foundation.’”

*Tweet o’ the Week: Ryan Heinlein- Pretty remarkable to neither honor the tradition or be forward thinking at all. That’s how this dies.

*From a press release: The Kansas City Jazz Summit will take place April 23 - 26, 2019. This event caters to middle school, high school and college jazz bands, combos and jazz choirs and will take place at Kansas City Kansas Community College. The festival will highlight Kansas City's rich jazz heritage through the "Basically Basie" Jazz Heritage Competition. Bands are judged on their ability to capture the essence of the Kansas City style as best exemplified by the Count Basie Orchestra. There is also a non-competitive category (Summit) that allows bands to showcase their own unique style and personality.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)