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Art Spiegelman has been called the father of the graphic novel, though it's a title he resists. And composer Phillip Johnston has been a fixture in the New York underground music scene since the 1980s. The friends and collaborators teamed up on a performance (coming to Kansas City October 19, 2014) that, according to Johnston, is like a high school class slideshow lecture on LSD. 

Guests:

C.J. Janovy

Kansas City's 18th & Vine Jazz and Blues Festival filled the air behind the American Jazz Museum with music and barbecue smoke from early in the afternoon until late at night on Saturday, Oct. 11. The jams also went on all day inside the Gem Theater and the Blue Room. 

Although the American Jazz Museum brought in national talent including Roy Hargrove, Meshell Ndegeocello, Lucky Peterson, Jessica Care Moore and Midnight Star, plenty of area acts had stage time as well.

Local Listen: OJT

Oct 9, 2014
www.kenlovern.com

This Saturday's 18th & Vine Jazz and Blues Festival will have national acts like the great jazz trumpeter Roy Hargrove.  But the event also provides an expanded stage for many Kansas City-based musicians like OJT. This organ jazz trio, led by Ken Lovern, will be among the acts representing the area's jazz scene. This edition of Local Listen features the trio's playful new interpretation of Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl."

Walnut Valley Music Festival

Since 1972, bluegrass, country and even Irish orchestral music have sounded from stages and campsites at the Walnut Valley Music Festival in Winfield, Kan. 

In a conversation with Central Standard's Gina Kaufmann, longtime festival goers Lowen Millspaugh and Kasey Rausch called in from Winfield where the 2014 festival is taking place right now.

Dave E. Dexter, Jr. Collection / LaBudde Special Collections Department - UMKC

Fifty years ago Wednesday, The Beatles played a concert at Municipal Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.

The concert was not originally part of the band's first cross-country U.S. tour, but business man and owner of the Kansas City Athletics baseball team, Charlie O. Finley, managed to bring them to Kansas City.

Finley flew to San Francisco to talk to the band's manager, Brian Epstein, and offered $50,000 to bring The Beatles to Kansas City. They finally agreed on $150,000, and the Fab Four flew into Kansas City to play a show on one of their only days off from the tour.

  You hear organs all the time-- at the ballgame, in a spooky Halloween movie-- but it's also a classical music instrument.

On Friday's Up to Date, we talk with an organist who's tickled the multiple keyboards of ivories at the Kauffman Center about what makes this instrument special.

Guest:

  • Jan Kraybill, principal organist for the Dome and Spire Organ Foundation and organ conservator at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

Local Listen: The Project H

Sep 3, 2014
theprojecthkc.com

The instrumental band The Project H allows several of Kansas City's most exciting jazz musicians to showcase their affinity for rock and rhythm & blues.  The ensemble's album "We Live Among the Lines" will be released next week. 

This edition of Local Listen features The Project H's brash new composition "A Bear's Cave."

Laura Spencer / KCUR

Most people go to Boulevard Drive-In in Kansas City, Kan., to watch what’s on the big screen, but this weekend they might stumble upon something a little strange on the way to the snack bar — a two-piece band accompanied by a half dozen or so kids playing music on fruits and vegetables. 

This weekend will be the second time the duo set up at the drive-in,

Earlier this summer, as Dave Cedillo started unloading computer equipment, amps, and vegetables, he explained his set up.

erniebiggs.com

Imagine a piano bar with not one, but two, pianists, often playing simultaneously and you'll have an idea of dueling pianos. On this edition of Up to Date Steve Kraske learns that "dueling" is actually the pair working with each other to entertain the patrons. Not only do they demonstrate for Steve, but they also take listeners' requests live in the studio.

Guests:

Beth Lipoff / Up to Date

His career includes multi-platinum recordings, 200-plus live performances per year, two Emmy and five Grammy nominations, conductor of the Pasadena Pops, nightclub owner, and that’s just the half of it. Perhaps his greatest recognition, though, is as “Ambassador of the Great American Songbook”. On Friday's Up to Date, Michael Feinstein talks with Steve Kraske about his love of classic American popular music and his efforts to preserve it for future generations.

Weekend To-Do List: July 4-6

Jul 3, 2014
KC Riverfest

Have a star-spangled weekend with this sizzling list of area entertainment from Brian McTavish!

Big Bang: Jackson County’s Fourth of July Celebration
5:30 p.m. (gates open) Friday; free admission
Longview Lake, Shelter #13

KC Riverfest: Music and Fireworks
4 p.m. (gates open) Friday; $5 admission after 5 p.m.
Berkley Riverfront Park

Ross Grady / Flickr-CC

We're almost halfway through 2014 and there's already been great music on the local, national and international stages.

From jazz to experimental ambient music, there's been something for pretty much everyone this year. 

On Friday's Up to Date, host Steve Kraske was joined by a panel of music lovers to find the best bands, albums, and tracks so far in 2014. 

Here are our guests' picks:

Local/Regional

dbking / Flickr-CC

Popular singing competition show American Idol is coming to Kansas City this summer. On July 21, the Idol tour bus will pull into the University of Missouri-Kansas City's Volker campus to hold open auditions for the show's 14th season. 

In a press release, UMKC's Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Mel Tyler says Kansas City will be a natural fit for the show. 

Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company

If you're looking for a variety of entertainment this weekend, look no further than Brian McTavish's Weekend To-Do List for May 30-June 1.

Cher (pop diva), D2K Tour 2014, 8:00 p.m. Saturday at the Sprint Center, 1407 Grand, Kansas City, MO

Tickets: $45.50 to $105.50

Video game sound has evolved from the simple electronic theme music of Super Mario Bros. to the lush orchestral arrangements that accompany gamers' top choices today.  Recognizing the popularity of these games has inspired the musical selections for an upcoming concert by the Northland Symphony Orchestra.

Tom Beetz / Flickr-CC

If you're looking for good music this weekend, look no further than Brian McTavish's Weekend To-Do List for May 23-25.

Tony Bennett (pop music legend), 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo. Tickets: $70 to $150.

Westport Roots Festival (Billy Joe Shaver and 25 bands), Saturday, indoor music at noon, outdoor at 2 p.m. at the Westport Saloon, 4112 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, Mo. Tickets: $28.

Dawn Fallik

It was a beautiful Wednesday morning at the University of Kansas and the chimes inside the school's Campanile rang out "Ode to Joy" across the lush campus.

And then they started clanking, an odd off-beat, minor clank. Students passing by looked at each other, a little worried.

"It is broken?" one asked.

No, just student Amanda Schultz, trying to make 53 bells do a blues slide on the carillon.

There are only handful of schools in the country to learn the carillon, a tall organ-like instrument that controls the bells in a bell tower, or campanile.

John Picacio / spectrumfantasticartlive.com

Want to shake up your weekend? Brian McTavish knows what to do. Check out his Weekend To-Do List for May 9-11.

The Blasters (Rock), 9 p.m. Friday at Knuckleheads Saloon, 2715 Rochester, Kansas City, Mo. Tickets: $20

Lisa Lampanelli: The Leaner Meaner Tour (Stand-up comedy from the “female Don Rickles”), 8 p.m. Friday at The Midland, 1228 Main, Kansas City, Mo. Tickets: $51.50, $61.50

Guadalupe Centers Inc.

Looking for something to do this weekend? Brian McTavish has just the thing to spice up your weekend at get you out of that funk with his Weekend To-Do List for May 2-4.

Free Comic Book Day Free comics and superhero-related activitiesSaturdayKansas City area comic book shopsAdmission: Freefreecomicbookday.com   

“School House Rock Live!” 

On her way to Kansas City to play a springtime gig, retro rocker Holly Golightly chatted with Gina Kaufmann about her danceable songs inspired by pre-rock Americana. We listened to a few good songs and heard why Holly likens her distinctive sound to a "bourbon-soaked front porch."

jaeschol / Flickr-CC

Got a case of the blahs? Brian McTavish has just the thing to spice up your weekend at get you out of that funk with his Weekend To-Do List for April 25-27.

Diana Ross (Pop), 7 p.m. Sunday at the Midland Theater, 1228 Main, Kansas City, Mo. Tickets: $58 to $178 

conniestevens.com

Need to take your mind off of the IRS today? 

On Tuesday's Up to Date, we do our best to distract you from your taxes with a visit from actress Connie Stevens. Join us as we talk with her about 1960s Hollywood, what it was like to date Elvis and how she likes acting with her daughter at The New Theatre Restaurant.

Guest:

Middle of the Map Fest starts tonight with the music portion in Westport. The festival will continue with forum next weekend and wrap up with film April 16-20. On today's Central Standard, a Middle of the Map Fest co-founder discusses what to expect from local and national musicians in Kansas City this weekend. Plus, KCUR's Laura Ziegler is here with Royals predictions for this week's Tell KCUR.

Guest:

  • Chris Haghirian, co-founder of Middle of the Map Fest

middleofthemapfest.com

Wash away the recent rainy weather with Brian McTavish's Weekend To-Do List for April 4-6.

Ink's Middle of the Map Fest Music festival with more that 120 bands at six venues.  Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Gary Numan performs at 11 p.m. Thursday at Ernie Biggs Piano Bar. Country Club Plaza and Westport area. Tickets: $55 three-day-pass

Creative Commons

Kansas City brings to mind some obvious trademarks: jazz music, ornate fountains and delicious barbecue. A lesser known aspect of our community is the reggae music movement.

Today on Central Standard we discuss the reggae scene in Kansas City. The genre consists of many different sounds with influences from different parts of the world.

Guests:

All That Canadian Jazz Comes To Kansas City

Feb 28, 2014
lailabiali.com

Not that long ago, Laila Biali was struggling to make a name for herself in the world of American jazz. She was on the verge of giving up when she got an invitation to audition for Sting. She made the cut, and wound up at Sting’s estate in Tuscany for rehearsal.

On Friday's Up to Date, we talk with Biali about her music as she prepares to open the American Jazz Museum’s Women in Jazz Month. 

Guest:

Saxophonist Kenny G: Still Smooth

Jan 15, 2014
kennyg.com

His big, curly hair and smooth jazz are iconic. Some play him for laughs, but many enjoy the mellow tones of Kenny G. 

Others have been critical: jazz superstar Pat Metheny is known to be critical of Kenny G., saying among other things that G is "not really an advanced player."  Kenny's response?  Metheny was "obviously on drugs." 

alansheaven / Flickr-CC

Kelley Hunt sings across many genres. Part of her heart may be in R&B but it's the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra she'll partner with this week for a Christmas-themed concert.

In the second part of Monday's Up to Date, she joins Steve Kraske to talk about "Christmas with Kelley Hunt" and her Kansas roots.

Guest:

worstgig.com

It's hard to imagine Def Leppard, John Mayer, or any other rock musician having a bad day, but Jon Niccum​ begs to differ. 

Singing Along With Karaoke

Sep 12, 2013
Beth Lipoff/KCUR

Is your song confident, like Queen’s “We Are The Champions?” Or do you let out your inner Whitney Houston as you belt out “I Will Always Love You?”

On Friday's Up to Date, we look at karaoke and what it means to those who grab a mic and sing for the crowd at their favorite bar. We also talk about the emotional release some participants find in the activity.

Guest:

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