The Chinese New Year is also called the Spring Festival. And it's considered the most important traditional Chinese holiday. Families clean their houses to symbolically sweep away ill fortune and make way for good luck. Windows and doors are decorated with red to celebrate the themes of happiness, wealth and longevity.
After contributing six decades of musical direction and genius, Randy Weston remains one of the world's foremost pianists and composers of today, a true innovator and visionary.
By Up to Date, Feb 5, 2010
Born in Brooklyn N.Y., Randy Weston didn't have to travel far to hear early influential jazz giants like Count Basie, Nat King Cole, Art Tatum, and of course, Duke Ellington. But his greatest influence, by far, was Thelonious Monk.
Local author Ann Ingalls' new children's book introduces young readers to the legendary pianist Mary Lou Williams.
By Alex Smith
Kansas City, MO – If she were still alive this year, jazz pianist and composer Mary Lou Williams would be 100 years old. Williams was considered by many to be the greatest female jazz instrumentalist of all times. She spent the years between 1929 and 1941 in Kansas City, and was one of the principal architects of the Kansas City swing sound.
Night Tides host Renee Blanche shares her favorite contemplative instrumental & electronic music albums released in 2009.
A Note from Renee Blanche, host of Night Tides
Night Tides had another exceptional year in music from new artists who made the cut to the already established artists who continue to compose with the "wow" effect. Speaking of the "wow" effect, CD numero uno for 2009 did just that and more. Labeled the "Pan-Cultural music for a new Eon", AO Music's CD "Twirl" brought it to the table with a mighty lion's roar! Bravo AO Music!
Anton Krutz believes that string instruments resonate with people in a unique way. And he'll tell you that it takes more than quality wood and a good craftsman to make a great sounding instrument. It's the varnish that counts.
During the month of December, the Kansas City Symphony can be found all over the city, and in various configurations - like the TubaChristmas concert and the Chamber Players' Tchaikovsky concert earlier this month.
Before turning to jazz, vocalist Shay Estes performed with a rock band, a Western-surf band, and a burlesque troupe.
By Laura Spencer
Kansas City, MO – Before turning to jazz, vocalist Shay Estes performed with a rock band, a Western-surf band, and a burlesque troupe. In recent years, Estes has collaborated with Brad Cox's People's Liberation Big Band and Mark Southerland's "Urban Noise Camp."
The Deep Thinkers recently released their new album Make it Quake.
By Susan B. Wilson
Kansas City, MO – MC Brother of Moses and DJ Leonard D' Stroy have known each other since their days at Indian Woods Middle School in Shawnee Mission. That was back when they were known as Aaron Sutton and Kyle Dykes. And they've been working together ever since.
This story originally aired in March 2009. Kansas City's legendary reggae group, The Blue Riddim Band, reunited earlier this year and put out a new album.
By Alex Smith
Blue Riddim Band
Kansas City, MO – The Blue Riddim Band is back! After years away from regular performing, Kansas City's legendary reggae group has reunited. In March 2009, Alex Smith spoke with drummer Steve "Duck" McLane.
A visit with composer Nolan Gasser, who in addition to being a critically acclaimed composer, pianist, and musicologist is the chief architect of the Music Genome Project, the musical technology behind the famous Pandora personalized radio application.
When the Majestic Steakhouse in downtown Kansas City shut down in May, Bram Wijnands was forced to look for a new way to spend his Friday and Saturday nights. For the previous 16 years, the Dutch pianist had delivered authentic 1930s KC-style swing and boogie woogie in the cellar which once served as a speakeasy.
Mark Southerland is an artist. His medium is the saxophone. He's been in bands with styles ranging from jazz to pop to freaky avant-garde stuff. But the biggest leap has been from musician who plays horns to artist who makes horns.
Each week, for the last five Sundays, ten musicians have gathered for an afternoon rehearsal session on a vacant floor of a downtown office building. It's a new year-long initiative sponsored by the Charlotte Street Foundation called the Black House Improvisors' Collective.
In 2004, Youssou N'Dour released the album Egypt, in which he was hoping to promote a positive view of his country's main religion, Islam. But many people in Senegal considered the album blasphemous, for mixing secular and religious music.
By Susan B. Wilson
Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour is one of Africa's most popular musicians. He became known worldwide in the 1980s when he sang with Peter Gabriel in the song In Your Eyes.
If Stik Figa's live performance style seems influenced by the good-time rap of the 80's, it might have something to do with his first inspiration, the 80's rap film Krush Groove. At his home in Topeka, he recently told KCUR's Alex Smith that he first saw this early slice of hip hop culture when he was a globe-hopping army brat.
12 O'clock Jump features Joe Cartwright and the band in a birthday salute of Kansas City's own Count Basie. A visit from Dr Pearl, this week's Blues in the News and a new take on "Who's On First" round out the show.
John Brewer talks about his double life of firefighter and jazz / electronica musician.
By Alex Smith
Kansas City, MO – The phrase: "Don't Quit Your Day Job" has been used as a put down for decades. If someone sings badly, that's what they're told. And yet, often it's the day job that provides the inspiration, material, or simply a structured schedule for the art.
Local jazz musician Stuart Ashley relates the practice of jazz music to the studio practice of visual artist Dan Christensen. A new survey of paintings by the late artist (1942-2007)documents Christensen's "never-ending quest to understand the possibilities of color, paint, and pictorial space."
By Drew Bolton
Kansas City, MO – Dan Christensen: Forty Years of Painting May 15-August 30, 2009 Kemper Museum
Though the season of pesky insects - and insect repellent - is upon us, the Coterie Theatre finds no irony in premiering a new work that cross-pollinates the worlds of pop rock, musical theater, and bugs.
By Steve Walker
Kansas City, MO – As the latest offering from the Coterie's Lab for New Family Musicals, the show "U: Bug: Me" opens this weekend hoping to, well...draw flies.
While Kansas City remains a capital city of jazz, the face of that music is always changing.
By Up to Date, June 25, 2009
Kansas City , Mo. – Steve Kraske discusses the state of Kansas City Jazz with Bill Brownlee, music marketer and jazz writer, and Jeff Harshbarger, composer and jazz bassist. They examine the aging jazz fan base, new style developments, and what venues are thriving while others are struggling.
Kansas City, MO – When you hear the name DJ Jazzy Jeff the hit 90's sitcom ,The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air might come to mind. Jeff Townes played Will Smith's friend Jazz, who often got kicked out of the house by Uncle Phil. And now almost 30 years later, just a week ago on Saturday night, Jazzy Jeff says he was kicked out of the Power and Light District.