KCUR's Band Of The Week: Julian Vaughn

May 17, 2017

The smooth-jazz bassist and Kansas City native Julian Vaughn joins respected smooth-jazz guitarist — and retired New York Yankees slugger — Bernie Williams at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum on May 20, in an event billed as Jazz & Jackie: A Monarchs Salute to Jackie Robinson.

Before he made history by breaking the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Robinson played for the Kansas City Monarchs. The concert, which marks the anniversary of Robinson's first game with the Monarchs, also celebrates Robinson's "unbridled love of jazz, an art form that got its soul in Kansas City."

Saturday’s benefit for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is also a CD release concert for Vaughn's fifth album, Bona Fide, which has an official street date of June 30. A glossy blend of funk, R&B and jazz, the title track is a showcase for Vaughn’s insistent electric bass.

Julian Vaughn, 7:30 p.m., Saturday, May 20 at the Gem Theater, 1615 East 18th Street, Kansas City, Missouri, 64108.

Bill Brownlee’s writing appears weekly in The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine. He blogs about Kansas City’s jazz scene at Plastic Sax.