Up To Date
5:12 am
Sat September 13, 2014

Local Listen: Various Blonde

Kansas City's Various Blonde has been attempting to expand the consciousness of listeners since 2008. The art-rock band has perfected its potent psychedelic sound on the new album "Summer High." This week's edition of Local Listen showcases the heavy mysticism of the album's title track.

Hear more: Various Blond performs at The Record Bar on October 15.

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Arts & Culture
1:37 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

How The Power Of A Pipe Organ Is Like Riding A Harley

The Julia Irene Kauffman Casavant Organ, Opus 3875, in Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
Credit courtesy: Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

Jan Kraybill, principal organist for the Dome and Spire Organ Foundation and organ conservator at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, plays and maintains the three largest pipe organs in the Kansas City metro area. The Kauffman Center's Casavant organ ranks third with 5,448 pipes. 

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Arts & Culture
6:45 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Finalists Selected, Design Process Starts For UMKC's Proposed Downtown Arts Campus

An artist rendering of the future home of the UMKC Downtown Campus for the Arts. The proposed site is south of the Kauffman Center of the Performing Arts.
Credit courtesy: University of Missouri-Kansas City

Five architect teams are on the short list to design the first phase of the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s proposed downtown arts campus.

The finalists include Kansas City-based firms BNIM, el dorado, Helix, Hoefer Wysocki and International Architect Atelier, each teamed with national architecture firms. 

The initial stage of the project calls for relocating the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance -- students, faculty, classes, and most performances -- to the Crossroads Arts District. 

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Arts & Culture
5:30 am
Sat September 6, 2014

Corporate Rockers Win Battle Of The Band Challenge

Sprint's Cleyson Brown Unlimited is one of eight bands to compete in this year's FORTUNE Battle of the Corporate Bands.
Credit courtesy: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Update: Sprint's Cleyson Brown Unlimited won first place. The band was also recognized for Best Horns (David Freeland), Best Bass Player (Frank Minolfo), and Best Drummer (Jason Smith). 

Original post follows: 

Companies around the country will be in heavy competition this weekend - on stage, with musical instruments.

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Arts & Culture
8:35 am
Thu September 4, 2014

Kansas City Symphony And The 'Bohemian' Life

Credit Photo courtesy of Chris Lee / Kansas City Symphony

The Kansas City Symphony’s Classics Uncorked series is a more informal concert experience — shorter and with a theme. This weekend’s program, called Bohemian Rhapsody, features works by Dvorák, Bizet ... and Queen.

Nick Hersh, assistant conductor at the Baltimore Symphony, and Aram Demirjian, associate conductor at the Kansas City Symphony, met a few years ago at the American Academy of Conducting in Aspen. They conducted and stood as partners for two summers in the cello section of the Conductors' Orchestra. 

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Up To Date
3:50 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Local Listen: The Project H

The Project H's latest album is "We Live Among the Lines."

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."

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Up To Date
3:08 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Local Listen: Carswell & Hope

Carswell & Hope, a soulful folk-rock band from Lawrence, Kan., will be among the performers at this weekend's Kansas City Irish Fest. A collaboration between the Irish transplant Nick Carswell, two native Kansans, and a New Yorker, Carswell & Hope released its debut album in May. This week's Local Listen is a curiously pensive track from the project, "Hunger."

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Up to Date
10:38 am
Fri August 22, 2014

Sixteen And Singing Proudly

Singer-songwriter Gracie Schram is finding her place on the stage at age 16.

Gracie Schram has sung the national anthem for the Kansas City Royals and Sporting KC, and she also has her own single with an album in the works. It's a pretty ambitious start for the 16-year-old Prairie Village, Kan. songstress.

On Friday's Up to Date, we talk with her about her start, her new music and her humanitarian efforts.


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Up To Date
4:56 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Local Listen: The Phantastics

Credit The Phantastics

The Phantastics, one of this area’s most formidable party bands, send audiences into frenzies with a heated blend of funk, jazz and hip-hop.

The ensemble includes the noted rapper The Phantom and several of the region's most versatile musicians.

This week's edition of Local Listen features a dance-oriented track, "Phire," from the Phantastics 2013 EP "Closer."

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Up to Date
2:07 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

Kansas City Celebrates Charlie 'Bird' Parker This Month

The American Jazz Museum in Kansas City celebrates the life of the local legend Charlie Parker.
Credit 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.

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Up To Date
9:00 am
Wed August 13, 2014

Local Listen: The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra


Patrons of the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra may rethink their usual wardrobe choices before attending the big band's next concert.  Instead of appearing at the its regular home at Helzberg Hall in the Kauffman Center, the orchestra will perform at Knuckleheads this Saturday.   On this edition of Local Listen, we'll hear the orchestra's rendition of Freddie Green’s classic "Corner Pocket."

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Up To Date
6:14 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Local Listen: Nuthatch-47


Maksim Kunakhovich of Nuthatch-47 has said that "Russia is my mother and America is my wife."  His distinctive contributions make Nutchatch-47 one of the funniest and most musically unique bands in the Kansas City area.  This week's edition of Local Listen features "I Reckon" from Nuthatch-47's 2013 album "Babushka Bandita."  The song's narrator muses about his affection for unsavory aspects of American culture as his comrades riff on a familiar spaghetti western theme. 

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Up To Date
2:30 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

TEDxKC: Getting Money Out Of Politics And A DIY Musician

Lawrence Lessig and Kawehi
Credit Sage Ross / / Wikimedia Commons

Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig says we can't begin to deal with problems like climate change, financial reform or anything else until we deal with the corrupting influence of money in American politics. As part of Up to Date's  continuing look at TEDxKC 2014, Lessig explains to Steve Kraske how he believes our system became broken and what it will take to fix it.

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Up To Date
2:34 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

What Makes A Winner At The Missouri And Kansas State Fairs

Justin Schultis is the current Kansas Auctioneer Champion.
Justin Schultis

The Missouri State Fair starts in Sedalia this Thursday, and the Kansas State Fair is close behind, opening on September 5th. In addition to giant funnel cakes and whirling carnival rides, the State Fairs have a more serious side: competition. On Monday's Up to Date, host Steve Kraske speaks with past and present state fair champions to find out what brings them back year after for that blue ribbon.

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Up To Date
2:03 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Local Listen: People's Liberation Big Band


Anyone who clings to the mistaken notion that all of the jazz performed by Kansas City musicians is bound to fusty tradition has yet to hear the People's Liberation Big Band.  The maverick ensemble led by Brad Cox plays a wild and wooly form of jazz.  This week's Local Listen features "Mr. Blister's Naughty Sister," a playful track from the large ensemble's 2010 debut album.

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Central Standard
2:09 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Kansas City Duo Victor & Penny Make Music On The Road

Erin McGrane and Jeff Freiling perform as Victor & Penny in KCUR's talk show studio.
Credit Alyson Raletz, KCUR

With a ukelele and jazz guitar in tow, the traveling Kansas City-based musical duo known as Victor & Penny stopped by Central Standard on Wednesday to talk with Gina Kaufmann — and to perform a few of their signature "antique pop" songs live for our listeners.

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Up To Date
1:55 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Local Listen: Jason Vivone & the Billy Bats


The Phoenix, one of Kansas City's most popular live music venues, hosts its fifth annual Phoenix Fest this Saturday.  Jason Vivone and the Billy Bats are among the eight area-based acts performing at the event.  This week's edition of Local Listen features "Eddie Ate Dynamite," the humorous title track from the band's 2013 album.

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Up to Date
2:01 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Local Listen: Quixotic

Quixotic performs at Crossroads KC on July 19.
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

Quixotic's circus-like presentations make it easy to overlook the musical component of this performing arts troupe from Kansas City. Yet the sounds that accompany its compelling visuals, a distinctive merger of electronic and acoustic elements that bridge the divide between classical and pop, are an essential element of the ensemble's success.

This edition of Local Listen features "From the Outside Looking In," the title track of Quixotic's latest recording.

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Arts & Culture
6:01 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Local Listen: Ensemble Ibérica

Ensemble Ibérica
Credit Jeff Evrard /

Often characterized by Americans as the blues of Portugal, fado is a melancholy music.  Vocalist Rodrigo Costa Félix is one of three Portuguese fado artists that will headline a concert Saturday, July 12, at Polsky Theatre on the campus of Johnson County Community College.  Kansas City's Ensemble Ibérica, a group led by event organizer Beau Bledsoe, will open the show.  This week's Local Listen features Ensemble Ibérica's "Fado Pechincha."

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Central Standard
3:55 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Kansas City Bartenders Create Cocktails Inspired By Local Bands

Credit Geishaboy500 on Flickr

Music is often connected with emotions, but what about food? Can a cocktail taste like a song? On Thursday's Central Standard, we spoke with two Kansas City bartenders who recently completed a feat of synesthesia - creating original cocktails inspired by songs from local musicians.  The event was called Mixtapes & Mixology.

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Up To Date
3:32 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

The Best Music of 2014 — So Far

Sylvan Esso, pictured here, is just one of the groups that our music lovers picked as one of the best of 2014 so far.
Credit 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:


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Up To Date
3:44 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Local Listen: Greg Mackender

"The Winter's Tale" at the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival.
Credit Roger Ridpath / Heart of America Shakespeare Festival

The Heart of America Shakespeare Festival begins this weekend and while the play may be the thing, there’s live music too.

During performances of The Winter's Tale, there are three musicians on stage, including resident composer Greg Mackender on percussion and mallets, Sascha Groschang on cello and Laura Parks on violin.

"I left a lot of openings for impromptu types of things," says Mackender. "There are other spots where they can get a little livelier, we can play around a little bit."

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Up To Date
12:25 pm
Sat June 14, 2014

Local Listen: David George & A Crooked Mile

David George is a rock and roll formalist. The Kansas City musician's affinity for tradition was recognized by John Fogerty and George recently toured as a member of Fogerty's band. But, he has returned to the Heartland to write his own music and this edition of Local Listen features a vibrant new composition. Here is David George & A Crooked Mile performing "Shine."

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Arts & Culture
2:35 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

LISTEN: Ben Folds Bridges Pop And Classical Music

Ben Folds performed and answered questions at a matinee performance on Wednesday, conducted by the Symphony's associate conductor Aram Demirjian.
Credit Beth Buchanan / Kansas City Symphony

Singer-songwriter Ben Folds had a strongly worded message for an audience at a sold-out Kansas City Symphony concert at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts this week: "Cities without symphony orchestras are crap."

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Central Standard
10:26 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Kansas City's Front Porches Are Gathering Places, And Now Music Venues, Too

PorchFests fill historic city neighborhoods with live music, in Kansas City and throughout the United States.
Credit Ari Moore / Creative Commons, Flickr

The front porch is an American institution. It's an ideal place to wind down with a cool drink on a summer night. But this familiar scene is all-too-easy to take for granted.

On the occasion of Kansas City's inaugural PorchFest, a music festival bringing 70 bands to residential porches, Central Standard takes a look at the history of the American front porch. We also visit with the festival organizer to hear about the bands bringing West Plaza porches to life this weekend.


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Arts & Culture
9:27 am
Wed June 11, 2014

7 Questions For Doug Frost On Beer And The First-Ever Boulevardia

Music, food, and craft beer will jostle for center stage this weekend at Boulevardia, a three-day festival in the West Bottoms of Kansas City, Mo.

More than three dozen brewers from 11 states, from Oregon to Maine, as well as two Belgian breweries, will be on tap to provide samples. And – of course — there will be beer from local favorites in Kansas and Missouri (such as Boulevard Brewing Co., the organizer of the event).

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Up To Date
10:40 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Local Listen: 77 Jefferson

The summer months are reggae season in Kansas City.  Known for sweet vocals and loping rhythms, Kansas City's 77 Jefferson has been one of the region's most popular purveyors of the Jamaican sound since its inception in 2006.  From the band's most recent album “Rarities Vol. 2” comes the breezy track,"Call On Me".

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Arts & Culture
5:19 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Violinist Angèle Dubeau Mines Cancer Experience In New CD

When Angèle Dubeau was diagnosed with cancer, her fans reached out and asked her to share her experience through music.
Credit Courtesy: Analekta

Canadian violinist Angèle Dubeau was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2013. Her latest CD, Blanc, traces the range of emotions during her illness - from anxiety to sadness to hope - with songs by composers such as Dave Brubeck, Mark O'Connor and Cat Stevens.

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Up To Date
4:11 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Local Listen: My Brothers & Sisters

Performances by My Brothers & Sisters are a spectacle.  The self-described "14-piece pop orchestra" from Kansas City includes string and horn sections, and a large chorus.  The ambitious project has been documented on "Violet Music: Volume One" a recently-released album that took over a year to record.  This edition of Local Listen features a song that showcases the soulful side of this expansive ensemble.  Here is "How To Move What To Wear".

Hear More: My Brothers & Sisters headline the annual spring dance at Knuckleheads on Saturday, May 31.

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