Days before the deadline for a clarinet and saxophone competition to win $1,000 and a trip to Paris, Gunnar Gidner could barely stand. A spinal injury had left him unable to walk, much less practice his tenor saxophone, for two and a half months.

Gidner had recovered enough to return to school at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance in December. His jazz combo was rehearsing on his first day back, and Gidner’s professor, Dan Thomas, heard the recording and thought it was good. Really good.

Wikipedia Commons

Kansas City is finally honoring jazz icon Charlie Parker with a two-week celebration that kicks off today. The celebration is centered on the occasion of what would have been Parker’s 94th birthday. It includes a 21-sax salute at Lincoln Cemetery where Parker is buried.

Bernard “Step Buddy” Anderson / Special Collections, Miller Nichols Library, UMKC

Kansas City saxophone player and jazz singer Eddie Saunders passed away on December 30, 2012.  The late Lucky Wesley of The Scamps came up with Saunders and had described him as nice--naughty but nice.  Saunders loved to sing and he loved to play, and he was proud of his Kansas City jazz heritage.

Top Tenors Team Up

May 1, 2012
Alex Smith

Back in Kansas City’s classic jazz era of the ‘30s and early ‘40s, it was not uncommon to hear a full stage of horn players making music together.