Saturday, February 16, 2008

Putting Kansas City Jazz On the Map

The Mutual Musicans Foundation

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Now that Kansas City has been added to Google's Street View system I'm able to take Plastic Sax readers on a virtual tour of Kansas City's past and present jazz spots. The most famous jazz landmark in Kansas City still standing is this union hall at 1823 Highland Avenue. I love the picturesque side street. And the sturdy tree to the right of the Foundation holds an inexplicable allure for me.

The American Jazz Museum

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Right around the corner are the relatively new American Jazz Museum and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. The restored Gem Theatre is directly across the street. The Blue Room, Kansas City's premier jazz venue, is the space with the blue awning several yards to the west.

Charlie Parker's Grave

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Charlie Parker's grave is approximately a hundred yards beyond this ridge at the entrance to Lincoln Cemetary in Blue Springs, MO.


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Jardine's is the only club in Kansas City offering live jazz seven nights a week. The Main Street venue is right off the Plaza.

Plaza III

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The Plaza III, a Country Club Plaza steakhouse, features a subterranean jazz club.

The Golden Ox

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While the Golden Ox isn't a renowned jazz venue, Loren Pickford has taken up a Friday and Saturday night residency. Besides, I wanted to give my European and Japanese friends a glimpse of Kansas City's old stockyards.

YJ's Snack Bar

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The cool kids converge on YJ's Snack Bar on Sundays for a fresh-faced take on jazz. The cafe is in the recently renovated Crossroads district.

12th & Vine

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Our tour concludes at the spot that was once the world-renowned intersection of 12th Street and Vine. It was the center of the jazz universe at one time; it's now a lovely green space. Too bad, huh?


kcmeesha said...

now if you add some music to your tour, I won't have to leave the house at all.

Anonymous said...


Loved this!

Yer pal,

Eolaí gan Fhéile said...

This is excellent - I've been planning something similar for my world, but you doing this has helped me get over the guilt I've felt over ignoring so much of KC's Jazz world.

And the Golden Ox was my choice for my final meal in KC before I left. Because me and my European friends have "accents", we were given an impromptu tour of the place. Fantastic stuff.