Sunday, December 17, 2017
John Scott: The Plastic Sax Person of the Year
John Scott cracked the elusive code. Operating a profitable jazz club in Kansas City was beginning to seem like an unattainable pipe dream. Unlike several intrepid entrepreneurs who opened ill-fated jazz-oriented venues in recent years, the man who oversees Green Lady Lounge isn’t merely surviving. Scott daringly expanded his unlikely jazz empire in 2017.
In addition to presenting jazz performances on two stages at 1809 Grand Boulevard, Scott launched a trio of ambitious new endeavors in 2017. Most significantly, he opened Black Dolphin, a venue at 1813 Grand Boulevard. Scott was also instrumental in motivating Plastic Sax to revive the comprehensive Kansas City Jazz Calendar. Finally, Scott recently unveiled Green Lady Radio, a streaming service dedicated to further promoting locally based jazz artists.
Scott’s initial victory, however, was identifying the formula for sustaining a popular jazz club in Kansas City: no cover charge, superior service, luxurious cocktails, dim lighting and live music that rewards attentive listening but that can also be treated as background music.
Scott ruffled a few feathers along the way. Some musicians bristle at his mandates. Not every artist is willing to wear a coat and tie, take short set breaks or adhere to Scott’s musical parameters. His infamously salty dismissal of adventurous improvisatory music caused a stir in the jazz community 15 months ago. (My preference for more abrasive jazz performed in listening rooms has never been a secret.)
This commendation is unlikely to meet with Scott’s approval. He’s certain to suggest that a musician like Chris Hazelton, Stephen Martin or Molly Hammer is more deserving of the recognition. Perhaps, but those artists honed their crafts on stages operated by Scott. His audacious determination and visionary gumption have elevated the entirety of Kansas City’s jazz community.
The previous recipients of Plastic Sax's Person of the Year award are Eddie Moore (2016), Larry Kopitnik (2015), Deborah Brown (2014), Stan Kessler (2013), Doug and Lori Chandler (2012), Jeff Harshbarger (2011), Mark Lowrey (2010) and Hermon Mehari (2009). Bobby Watson was named the Plastic Sax Person of the Decade in 2009.
(Original image of Green Lady Lounge and Black Dolphin by Plastic Sax.)