This week, some of the best of the Kansas City jazz scene makes its way to the Prairie Village Jazz Festival, an event that in just a few short years has become one of the biggest delights on the annual jazz calendar. It’s a simple, no-gimmicks affair — just hours on end of some of the best this city has to offer, in an open-air setting.
The festival takes place Saturday in Harmon Park, at 77th Street and Mission Road. You’ll hear:
3 p.m.: The Shawnee Mission East Blue Knights, the jazz band from the school up the street from the park.
3:50 p.m.: The Kansas City Kansas Community College Vocal Jazz Ensemble, doing things you didn’t know voices could do.
4:40 p.m.: Organist Chris Hazelton’s Boogaloo 7, a furiously grooving band that lives up to its name and always delivers a good time.
5:50 p.m.: The Sons of Brasil, the area’s longtime practitioners of Brazilian-style jazz, music with a world of passions bubbling under its beautiful surface.
7 p.m.: Alto saxophonist Dan Thomas and Voyage, original music from the associate director of jazz studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and his hand-picked band.
8:30 p.m.: Marilyn Maye, the born-to-sing Kansas City icon who has always been a superb jazz and pop singer and is now enjoying a career renaissance in cabaret. It’s a relatively rare hometown appearance for her, and it’s justice that she gets this headlining spot. There’s no one else like Maye and there’s still nothing else like one of her shows.
Admission to the festival is $5, free for 18 and under. Bring a lawn chair or blanket, but please leave the cooler, the food and the dog at home.
▪ Pianist, organist and singer Greg Meise is featured on the next show in the Spirituality and All That Jazz concert series, at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 W. 47th St.
▪ The Blue Room, 1600 E. 18th St., has guitarist Dwayne Mitchell running the Monday jam at 7 p.m. The Sons of Brasil perform at 7 p.m. Thursday. Dan Thomas and band appear at 8:30 p.m. Friday, and singer Ida McBeth is on at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.
▪ The Green Lady Lounge, 1809 Grand Blvd., has pianist Joe Cartwright’s trio at 6 p.m. Sunday and trumpeter Stan Kessler’s Cornerstone band at 9:30 p.m.; Kessler’s quartet at 5:30 p.m. Monday, followed by trumpeter Ryan Thielman’s quartet at 9 p.m.; Hazelton’s trio at 6 p.m. Tuesday, followed by bassist Gerald Spaits’ trio at 9:30 p.m.; 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 drummer Kevin Frazee’s trio at 9 p.m.; pianist Tim Whitmer’s quartet at 5:30 p.m. Friday, followed by the group Guitar Elation at 8:30 p.m. and Hazelton’s Boogaloo 7 at 10 p.m.; and keyboardist Max Groove’s trio at 2 p.m. Saturday, followed by singer Molly Hammer’s quartet at 6 p.m. and keyboardist Mitch Towne’s trio at 8:30 p.m.
Joe Klopus, 816-234-4751