Music News & Reviews

Jazz Town: Musical holiday cheer comes to KC in fascinating forms

New York Voices, performing in the vocal-jazz-group idiom for more than a quarter century, comes to town Tuesday to perform with the KC Jazz Orchestra.
New York Voices, performing in the vocal-jazz-group idiom for more than a quarter century, comes to town Tuesday to perform with the KC Jazz Orchestra. From the artists

It’s still early in the holiday season, so you’re not sick of the holiday tunes just yet. Right? Right?

Even if you are sick of them, a jazz treatment of the seasonal standards can let you hear things in a less-jaded frame of mind for a while. And two of this week’s top jazz offerings provide that opportunity.

Come Tuesday, the New York Voices, one of the leading ensembles in vocal-jazz-group idiom for more than a quarter century, come to town to perform with the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra.

The four voices (Darmon Meader, Peter Eldridge, Kim Nazarian and Lauren Kinhan) will weave their intricate, mind-bending, close harmonies with the lush setting provided by some of the best instrumentalists in town, conducted by Clint Ashlock.

KCJO’s annual Christmas show is at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $25 to $50. Call 816-994-7222 or check

On Sunday, there’s a community outpouring of musical holiday cheer when the Jazz Carol Fest takes place at the Community Christian Church, 4601 Main St. The instrumentalists include pianists Tim Whitmer and Joe Cartwright, organist Everette DeVan, guitarist Rod Fleeman, trumpeter Stan Kessler, saxophonist Jim Mair, bassist James Albright and drummer Jurgen Welge.

The voices include Angela Hagenbach, Millie Edwards and Diane “Mama” Ray. Other musical guests are expected, too.

It’s a lot of music and a lot of artists in a short span, starting at 4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $17 in advance or $20 at the door. They can be had in advance at, at 816-561-6531 or at the church office from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.


▪ The Blue Room, 1600 E. 18th St., has singer and multi-instrumentalist Lester “Duck” Warner at 7 p.m. Thursday and the welcome return of organist Everette DeVan at 8:30 p.m. Friday. Trumpeter Hermon Mehari’s group with alto saxophonist Ben Van Gelder, one of the young players on the world stage to watch, appears at 8:30 p.m. Saturday; the last time Mehari and Van Gelder got together in Kansas City, the results were well worth hearing. The Jazz Disciples are in charge of the Monday jam at 7 p.m.

▪ Take Five Coffee + Bar, 6601 W. 135th St., Suite A-21 in Overland Park, has Miguel “Mambo” DeLeon and Carte Blanc at 8 p.m. Thursday, singer Megan Birdsall at 8 p.m. Friday and tenor saxophonist Rich Wheeler’s quartet at 8 p.m. Saturday. Pianist T.J. Martley plays the Sunday brunch at 10 a.m.

▪ Highlights at the Green Lady Lounge, 1809 Grand Blvd., include vibraphonist Peter Schlamb’s group at 9 p.m. Thursday; organist Chris Hazelton’s Boogaloo 7 at 10 p.m. Friday; organist Ken Lovern’s OJT at 9:30 p.m. Saturday and again at 10 p.m. Wednesday; the Foundation 627 Big Band at 8 p.m. Sunday; and the group B Vibe at 9 p.m. Monday.

▪ The Project H plays at 8 p.m. Thursday on the Jazz Underground series at the Westport CoffeeHouse Theatre, 4010 Pennsylvania Ave.

▪ The People’s Liberation Big Band of Greater Kansas City performs at 8 p.m. Sunday on the alternative jazz series at the RecordBar, 1020 Westport Road.

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