In the 1930s, Kansas City was a place where talent and history converged, resulting in a whole new sound that jazz aficionados continue to study today. But how does that past inform Kansas City's present day jazz scene?
When he went to Europe to perform for his fans across the Atlantic, the trip was one-way.
A contemporary of Charlie Parker, Webster grew up in Kansas City, Mo., right off of 24th Street. He taught himself to play the piano at a young age, and started his career performing as a pianist for silent films. It wasn't until he was about 20 years old that he took up the saxophone.
Big Joe Turner died in 1985, but the jump blues tradition he forged in Prohibition-era Kansas City nightclubs is kept alive by the Grand Marquis. The band has been entertaining audiences with its vintage sound since 1998. This week's edition of Local Listen features "Bed of Nails," a raucous song from the Grand Marquis' 2013 album "Blues and Trouble."
Miguel DeLeon is a man of many aliases. To some, he's El Mambo. To others, El Pionero. After nearly three decades leading Latin bands and teaching music in Kansas City, he moved to Phoenix, but he's back for a visit, playing gigs and teaching an Afrocuban drumming workshop.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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."
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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'sUp 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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."
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."