blues/jazz

Courtesy Nick Schnebelen

Nick Schnebelen, a member of the powerhouse Kansas City blues-rock band Trampled Under Foot, is a flashy guitarist. In 2008, the same year Trampled Under Foot was named the top band at the International Blues Challenge, he claimed the Albert King Award as the top guitarist.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

It was the usual 4 a.m. scene at the Mutual Musicians Foundation: a rotating combination of jazz musicians on the crowded stage; fans of all ages, races and preferred libations sitting in metal chairs around mismatched formica tables tapping their feet and yelling encouragement to the players; long-dead jazz legends surveying the raucous scene from black-and-white photographs on red walls. Except this time, sun was beaming in the windows.

Courtesy Oleta Adams

A popular lounge singer in Kansas City in the 1980s, Oleta Adams had a massive pop hit in 1991 with the heartfelt ballad “Get Here.” She's back in town on Sunday for a main-stage performance at the Kansas City Jazz & Heritage Festival.

Brian Rozman Photography

It’s easy to imagine a teenage Samantha Fish standing in the mulch at Crossroads KC, dreaming about playing up on the stage.

“I’ve been going to that venue since I was a teenager,” Fish, a Kansas City native, confirms. “That and Knuckleheads were my two favorite places to go see live music.”

cdbaby.com

It's tradition that every year Up To Date brings you, the best music from the Kansas City area and around the world. But unlike holiday sweaters and fruitcake, our music experts have something everyone can enjoy.

This year's panelists are:

Like a good story, a song changes over time as it passes through different voices. We explore the Anatomy of a Song with writer and Wall Street Journal contributor Marc Myers, who recollects the oral histories behind some of the greatest classics in the past fifty years.

Courtesy Mudstomp Records

As a child prodigy on harmonica back in the 1990s, Brody Buster was once one of Kansas City’s most notable musical exports. He appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and on an episode of the sitcom “Full House.”

But Buster's fame was as fleeting as his youth. The disturbing 90-minute documentary "How Did This Happen" documents Buster’s decline from child star to relatively obscure bar band musician.

3 reasons we're listening to Brody Buster this week:

You know Chuck Haddix as host of KCUR's Fish Fry, but his day job is director of UMKC's Marr Sound Archives. He finds truly surprising audio clips while working there, and he shares some with us in this edition of Up to Date. "It's like Christmas everyday," he says.

Gavin Peters

Moreland & Arbuckle
Promised Land or Bust

It’s not easy to surprise with a blues record.

courtesy: Andy Collier

In late July, blues band Levee Town released its first recording in five years. Guitarist and vocalist Brandon Hudspeth has been with Levee Town since the beginning.

A transplant from Oklahoma, Hudspeth moved to the Kansas City area when he was 19. He played in bands, such as The MO City Jumpers, before co-founding The Cobalt Project — and some of the members of that group went on to create Levee Town. 

Though he's known for his blues playing, Hudspeth also has jazz chops.

Jam sessions are about more than just "noodling" on a horn or keyboard. Saxophonist Tivon Pennicott says jamming is a great way to socialize with other musicians and see how your skills stack up. He's joined by bassist Bill McKemy, who is the director of Education and Public Programs at the American Jazz Museum.

Courtesy Trampled Under Foot

Following a hiatus of almost two years, the popular Kansas City blues-rock band Trampled Under Foot (named after the song on Led Zeppelin’s 1975 album Physical Graffiti) has reunited. They’re playing Friday, July 15, and Saturday, July 16, at Knuckleheads.

Three reasons we’re listening to Trampled Under Foot this week:

Aaron Bowen

Katy Guillen and the Girls
Heavy Days

With the blues, people throw parties to cover up pain.

That’s exactly what Kansas City-based blues rockers Katy Guillen and the Girls have done with Heavy Days, their second CD. The band takes addictive Friday-night catharsis as seriously as any roots band, and the opening song here, “Driving To Wake Up,” arrives like a house party. Heads can bob. Lips can be bitten in ecstasy. Hips can spontaneously pivot and swirl and shake.

Dawayne Gilley

Singer Linda Shell has long been described as the "Queen of Kansas City Blues." This weekend, Shell will be crowned Queen, and her husband, K.C. Kelsey Hill, will be King, when the Kansas City Kansas Street Blues Festival returns after a six-year hiatus

Little Hatch, a.k.a. Provine Hatch, Jr., was Kansas City’s premier blues musician during a popular resurgence of the form in the 1990s. Born in Mississippi in 1921, the harmonica player, vocalist and bandleader died in 2003.

Why we're listening to him this week:

Courtesy Dawayne Gilley

The Kansas City Kansas Street Blues Festival has had a hard life. In fact, fans of the scrappy two-day concert featuring all-local musicians probably thought it was dead, since it hasn't graced the corner of 13th and State with baleful riffs and barbecue smoke since 2009.

But like the characters in its performers' songs, it's found a way to survive. After seven years of silence, festival founder Dawayne Gilley says he's bringing it back this summer.

Courtesy Ida McBeth

The American Jazz Museum celebrates two Kansas City musical acts this weekend with Lifetime Achievement Awards for the McFadden Brothers and Ida McBeth.

McBeth's musical memories go all the way back to when she was five years old at church, singing the solo on a song called “It’s In My Heart.”

http://americanjazzmuseum.org/

After decades on the scene, Ida McBeth's dusky voice and emotional delivery have reached legendary status in Kansas City. It's not just her soulful combination of blues, jazz and gospel styles that delights audiences, either; she's made a habit of surrounding herself with a band that knows how to really dig into a groove. Go on, we dare you to find someone who has seen McBeth perform and doesn't love her music.

Jen Chen / KCUR 89.3

His music has been described as “guitar and growl” and “avant-garde folk.”

He also plays a mean kazoo on his new album, Theatres.

But Nicholas St. James says that “folk” is probably the easiest way to characterize his music — with a lot of blues influence as well.

The Fish Fry, KCUR's blues, jazz, soul, R &B and zydeco program which airs every Friday and Saturday night, turns 30 this year. We talk with host Chuck Haddix about how he got his start and what it takes to party, public radio style, week in and week out.

Music Man

Dec 4, 2015
Paul Andrews

A local jazz musician shares his journey from addiction to homelessness to recovery.

Guest:

A founding member of the Grammy-winning, old-time string band The Carolina Chocolate Drops, Rhiannon Giddens is out with her first solo album, "Tomorrow Is My Turn." She discusses her resistance to being called a "star" and how she's handled her sudden rise in fame. 

Cyprus Avenue Live at The Folly presents Rhiannon Giddens at 7 p.m Sunday, October 11 at the Folly Theater. For more information go to www.follytheater.org.

 Karrin Allyson is one of the premier jazz vocalists in the world. On her latest album, "Many A New Day," she revamps Rogers and Hammerstein classics with jazz-world superstars Kenny Barron and John Patitucci.

Karrin Allyson performs tonight at The Blue Room in Kansas City, Missouri. 

The McFadden Brothers, Ronnie and Lonnie, have been front-line entertainers in Kansas City for years with their combination of singing, tap dancing, sax and trumpet. In this conversation with Steve Kraske, they recall the influences that shaped their professional lives.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina, Kansas Citians who responded to the storm share memories and perspectives. We also retrace the musical pipeline from New Orleans to Kansas City.

Guests:

  • Dan Verbeck, retired broadcaster who covered the storm live, KMBZ and KCUR
  • Micah Herman, Kansas City jazz musician
  • Loren Pickford, New Orleans jazz musician

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR

Growing up, Amanda Fish used to lock herself in her room to sing. So, her younger sister Samantha Fish would lock herself in her room and play guitar.

"We were independent experiencers," Amanda says.

"She calls it a loner thing, I call it a leader thing," Samantha adds.

Fast-forward through the days of wailing with Tom Waits and rocking out to Nine-Inch Nails, and these two musicians are, sure enough, leading their own blues bands around Kansas City and across the country.

Charlie Parker's birthday is coming up, and Kansas City is all a-twitter. Hear a visiting jazz scholar's take on the history of Bebop, and Kansas City-born Charlie Parker's place in it. Bonus: a recording of a jam session where you can hear the Bird talking.

Guest:

Two sisters, both Blues singers, talk about being creative siblings, and what drives them to make music.

Guests:

  • Samantha Fish, musician, new album: Wild Heart
  • Amanda Fish, musician, new album: Down in the Dirt

Jeremy Thompson / Flickr-CC

One local music venue is in a narrow storefront and it doesn’t have a stage. The other is in the East Bottoms.

You’d think these locations wouldn’t work, but the Green Lady Lounge and Knuckleheads Saloon have succeeded in carving out a niche in Kansas City’s music scene — even to the point where Knuckleheads has opened the Garage, a mid-sized venue, next door.

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