Monday, November 23, 2015

Video Review: Kansas City & All That Jazz

As “Kansas City & All That Jazz” aired on KSHB on September, a friend who listens primarily to punk rock sent me an enthusiastic series of  texts about the broadcast.  He loved the documentary and admitted that most of the information it imparted was new to him. 

The 55-minute program has been sitting on my DVR since the initial broadcast but I only recently got around to watching it.  “Kansas City & All That Jazz” is a slick if somewhat dry effort that tracks the development of Kansas City jazz.  A heavy emphasis is placed on the role played by the Mutual Musicians Foundation.  The production values are first-rate and the pacing is commendable.

Ken Burns-style pans over sepia-toned photos are interspersed with interviews with Bobby Watson, Chuck Haddix, Sonny Gibson, Anita Dixon, Jamey Aebersold, Dr. Larry Ridley and James Hathaway.  Musicians featured in a jam session at the Foundation include Ryan Thielman, Ernest Melton, DeAndre Manning, Chris Clarke and Lonnie McFadden.

Devoted readers of Plastic Sax are unlikely to learn anything new, but “Kansas City & All That Jazz” is essential viewing for anyone with even a passing interest in the history in jazz or in the cultural significance of Kansas City.

The production doesn’t appear to be available for purchase (it would have made a great holiday gift), but the documentary certainly merits more than 600 views at YouTube.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

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