Music News & Reviews

Jazz Town: Prairie Village festival does right by KC jazz

The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra, directed by Clint Ashlock (right), will play the final set at the Prairie Village Jazz Festival on Saturday. Admission to the fest at Harmon Park is $5.
The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra, directed by Clint Ashlock (right), will play the final set at the Prairie Village Jazz Festival on Saturday. Admission to the fest at Harmon Park is $5. Todd Zimmer

Jazz used to thrive in certain parts of town, as we all know. But it never had to be confined to those places — not then, and certainly not now. Jazz belongs all over town.

We’ve proved it over and over again in the suburbs, in places south of Interstate 435, in a few places north of the river, in suburban schools, even in suburban churches. And it’s being proved on a large scale next weekend, at Saturday’s Prairie Village Jazz Festival.

The festival, in Harmon Park at 77th Street and Mission Road, is the kind of community celebration of jazz that we should see more often. It’s a strong roster of some of the best our town can offer, and it’s a tremendous bargain for the $5 admission.

Here’s the roster:

▪ 2:30 p.m.: The Blue Knights jazz band from Shawnee Mission East High School, directed by Alex Toepfer.

▪ 3:20 p.m.: Vibraphonist Peter Schlamb’s quartet.

▪ 4:30 p.m.: Bassist Tyrone Clark and his True Dig band, with singer Lisa Henry.

▪ 5:40 p.m.: HoraceScope, trumpeter Stan Kessler’s band that explores the music of Horace Silver.

▪ 6:50 p.m.: Drummer Matt Kane and his Kansas City Generations Sextet, featuring music by the KC musicians who influenced them: Ahmad Alaadeen, Bobby Watson, Pat Metheny.

▪ 8 p.m.: Singer Angela Hagenbach.

▪ 9:15 p.m.: The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra, directed by Clint Ashlock, plus the singing, dancing, horn-playing McFadden Brothers, true Kansas City originals.

Join the fun in Prairie Village. Community jazz events don’t get much better than this.


▪ Fans take note: Singer Karrin Allyson blows through town this week. She’s recording a live set for the “12th Street Jump” radio show at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Broadway Kansas City, 3601 Broadway. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door; call 816-421-7500. The next night, she’s a featured guest on bassist Bob Bowman’s gig at the Blue Room, 1600 E. 18th St. The longstanding collaborators perform at 8:30 and 10 p.m. Friday; tickets are $25 for one Blue Room show or $40 for both.

▪ The Arts Midwest conference is in town, and the Blue Room will be the scene of some showcase events that, fortunately, are open to the public. On Wednesday, pianist Peter Martin, longtime musical director for singer Dianne Reeves, performs at 9 p.m., followed by singer Jackie Allen with Chicago guitarist John Moulder at 10 p.m. On Thursday, the singer who calls herself Clairdee performs at 7 p.m. And on Saturday, singer Ida McBeth tears the place up at 8:30 p.m.

▪ Highlights at the Green Lady Lounge, 1809 Grand Blvd., include the Foundation 627 Big Band at 8:30 p.m. Sunday; the band Dojo at 8 p.m. Tuesday; organist Ken Lovern’s OJT at 9 p.m. Wednesday; organist Chris Hazelton’s trio at 9 p.m. Thursday; pianist Tim Whitmer at 5:30 p.m. Friday, followed by bassist Dominique Sanders at 8:30 p.m. and Hazelton’s Boogaloo 7 at 10 p.m.; and OJT again at 6 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday.

▪ The Broadway Kansas City also has the New Jazz Order big band at 9 p.m. Tuesday, alto saxophonist Michael Shults’ quartet at 8:30 p.m. Friday and pianist Michael Pagan at 7:30 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.

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