December can be a curious time for jazz in Kansas City, a period when musical business as usual is upended.
Holiday-themed shows seem to take over for a while, and we’ve seen many examples of that so far this month. No complaint about that.
But there’s no break from the important work of making the music a little better, a little fuller and more expressive, every day. This week is no exception.
Let’s take it day by day:
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Sunday: Singer Nedra Dixon, known for her theater work and her appearances on the “12th Street Jump” radio show, and a young, genre-spanning band called Stranded in the City are taking part in a holiday celebration in song and dance. They’re giving their “Jazz! A KC Holiday Tradition” presentation three times on Sunday, at 1 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. at the H&R Block City Stage in Union Station. Tickets are $15 at BrownPaperTickets.com.
Also, trumpeter and composer Hermon Mehari, who’s moving from Kansas City to Paris, leads a group at 8 p.m. at the RecordBar, 1520 Grand Blvd. TheRecordBar.com
Thursday: It’s Musicians Appreciation Day at 18th and Vine, with a dinner and other helpful things for the people who do the actual work of making Kansas City music. The gathering and dinner are at 5 p.m. at the Blue Room, 1600 E. 18th St., with music by the Elder Statesmen of Kansas City Jazz.
And alto saxophonist and composer Logan Richardson is back in town. The former Kansas Citian has been living in Paris, nurturing and deepening his art, finding ways to say more on the horn in fewer notes. His fine 2016 album, “Shift,” was released on the Blue Note label. He’s playing two homecoming shows, at 7:30 and 9 p.m. at the Blue Room.
Sunday, Dec. 18: The Jazz Winterlude series at Johnson County Community College continues with the excellent septet led by two Kansas City stalwarts, singer David Basse and pianist Joe Cartwright (again, collaborators on the “12th Street Jump” radio show). They perform at 7 p.m. in the Polsky Theater in Carlsen Center; tickets are $20. Call 913-469-4445 or check jccc.edu.
And then there are these:
▪ The Blue Room also has bassist Seth Lee in charge of the Monday jam at 7 p.m. Trumpeter Darryl White leads a quartet at 8:30 p.m. Friday, and bassist James Ward’s band appears at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.
▪ Highlights at the Green Lady Lounge, 1809 Grand Blvd., include drummer Danny Rojas, organist Everette DeVan, guitarist Matt Hopper and singer Eboni Fondren at 6 p.m. Sunday, followed by pianist Andrew Ouellette’s trio at 9:30 p.m.; saxophonist Ernest Melton’s quartet at 9 p.m. Monday; the group Dojo at 7 p.m. Tuesday; drummer Natalie Bates’ trio at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, followed by organist Ken Lovern’s OJT at 9 p.m.; guitarist Matt Hopper’s trio at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, followed by Guitar Elation at 9 p.m. and reed man Charles Perkins, bassist Gerald Spaits and drummer Todd Strait at 12:30 a.m.; pianist Tim Whitmer’s quartet at 5:30 p.m. Friday, followed by tenor saxophonist Steven Lambert’s quartet at 8:30 p.m. downstairs and organist Chris Hazelton’s Boogaloo 7 at 10 p.m. upstairs; OJT again from 6 p.m. Saturday until 1:30 a.m., with Lambert’s quartet downstairs at 9 p.m.
Joe Klopus, 816-234-4751