Music News & Reviews

July 30, 2014

Jazz Town: A busy fall for music fans

The dates are set, the contracts are signed. The Kansas City jazz concert series and festival outlook for fall and beyond is clear now. Here’s a quick overview of some of the bigger events the presenters have cooked up. Among the highlights are shows featuring Kevin Mahogany, Joe Lovano, Karrin Allyson and Meshell Ndegeocello.

The dates are set, the contracts are signed. The Kansas City jazz concert series and festival outlook for fall and beyond is clear now. Here’s a quick overview of some of the bigger events the presenters have cooked up:

Aug. 14-30: The first Kansas City Charlie Parker Celebration. More on that in this space very soon.

Sept. 6: Prairie Village Jazz Festival. First-class bebop singer Deborah Brown headlines, in a one-of-a-kind jam with tenor saxophone titan Joe Lovano and trumpeter Terell Stafford. Singer Kevin Mahogany is also on the bill, along with a well-judged roster of local talent. This year, for the first time, there’s an admission fee to the festival — but it’s only $5, and consider what you get to hear for that price. Check

Oct. 3: The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra’s new season starts with an “Evolution of the Big Band” show featuring reed man Hal Melia. The season continues with the New York Voices in a Christmas show on Dec. 9, a tribute to Hollywood on Feb. 27 and a Stan Kenton tribute on April 17. The shows are in Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts; call 816-994-7222 or check

Oct. 4: The Folly Jazz Series resumes with pianist Fred Hersch’s intensely creative trio. Other offerings are singer Karrin Allyson on Dec. 19; guitarist Earl Klugh in an intimate trio setting on Jan. 16; the group Hot Sardines, combining Parisian and New Orleans influences, on Feb. 21; violinist Christian Howes and his Southern Exposure band on March 14; and pianist Danilo Perez and his Panama 500 project on April 25. For tickets, call 816-474-4444 or go to

Oct. 11: Kansas City’s 18th & Vine Jazz and Blues Festival, around the American Jazz Museum, is headlined by trumpeter Roy Hargrove, singer/songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello, blues multi-instrumentalist Lucky Peterson and the ’80s hit-making party band Midnight Star. General admission tickets are only $10 until Sept. 2, so act now; call 816-474-6262 or check

The Jammin’ at the Gem concert series waits a while to resume, but fans from all over the jazz spectrum will be rewarded for waiting. The first two concerts are of the smooth-jazz variety, with keyboardist Brian Culbertson on Jan. 24, 2015, and sax man Gerald Albright on Feb. 14. Then things take a left turn with drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and her Mosaic Project, celebrating women in jazz, on March 21; vibraphonist Joe Locke’s quartet on April 18; and a well-deserved celebration with singer Marilyn Maye on May 23.

One other event that deserves mention here: The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, directed by Wynton Marsalis, appears on Sept. 24 at the Lied Center at the University of Kansas.


Saxophonist and horn sculptor Mark Southerland leads a group at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Westport CoffeeHouse Theatre, 4010 Pennsylvania Ave.

The Blue Room, 1600 E. 18th St., has Grupo Aztlan at 7 p.m. Thursday, singer Lee Langston at 8:30 p.m. Friday and tenor saxophonist Doug Talley’s quintet at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. The Nouveau Quintette from Wichita, a “gypsy jazz” Django Reinhardt-styled outfit with Bill Harshbarger on clarinet and tenor sax, Rob Loren on violin, Shane Marler and Ken “Kentucky” White on guitars, Jim Keefer on bass plus Bill Glenn on drums, plays at 7 p.m. Monday, and then bassist Jeff Harshbarger, Bill’s son, takes over for the regular Monday jam session.

Highlights at the Broadway Jazz Club, 3601 Broadway, include Lester “Duck” Warner and his Warner Project band at 6 p.m. Thursday; cornetist Alex Abramovitz and his Swing’n Kansas City Jazz Band at 7 p.m. Friday; singer Molly Hammer at 7 p.m. Saturday; and trumpeter Stan Kessler with singer and pianist Kathleen Holeman at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Highlights at the Green Lady Lounge, 1809 Grand Blvd., include trumpeter Stan Kessler at 9 p.m. Thursday; organist Chris Hazelton’s Boogaloo 7 at 10 p.m. Friday; vibraphonist Peter Schlamb’s quartet at 10 p.m. Saturday; the Foundation 627 Big Band at 8 p.m. Sunday; a going-away party for alto saxophonist Michael Shults, who’s going to be teaching at the University of Wisconsin in Eau Claire, from 8 to 11 p.m. Monday; tenor saxophonist Steve Lambert’s trio at 9 p.m. Tuesday; and organist Ken Lovern’s trio at 9 p.m. Wednesday.

Take Five Coffee + Bar, 5336 W. 151st St. in Leawood, has bassist Dominique Sanders’ trio at 8 p.m. Friday and pianist Charles Williams’ trio at 8 p.m. Saturday.

The People’s Liberation Big Band of Greater Kansas City, directed by Brad Cox, performs at 8 p.m. Sunday at the RecordBar, 1020 Westport Road.

Singer and multi-instrumentalist Lester “Duck” Warner is the guest on the next Spirituality and All That Jazz concert, at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 W. 47th St.

To reach Joe Klopus, call 816-234-4751 or send email to

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