Music News & Reviews

Jazz Town: Trombone Shorty bringing his new-school gumbo to Crossroads KC

Trombone Shorty
Trombone Shorty Submitted photo

Trombone Shorty isn’t playing jazz “purist” music, but there’s no reason to worry about that.

Yes, he’s soloing and singing over a backdrop of rock guitars, funk bass and riffing horns. There’s R&B, gospel, rock and hip-hop in the music he’s making. It’s a new-school New Orleans gumbo, if you will — everything from a young person’s wide musical experience cooking together in one pot.

And maybe that’s why Trombone Shorty, real name Troy Andrews, is playing Crossroads KC on Tuesday with his Orleans Avenue band (with the Old 97’s opening).

Somehow, Trombone Shorty’s music doesn’t feel like a gimmick or a deal with the devil to steal another jazz soul. It feels real.

Think about it for a minute. If you grew up in New Orleans hearing all these wonderful musicians around you, and wanting to play music yourself, would you want to reject any of those styles? Or would you look for a way to embrace them all?

Maybe we need more people like Trombone Shorty. Maybe that style is more pure than the purists think it is.

The show starts at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Crossroads KC, 417 E. 18th St. Tickets are $20 to $61.50; visit

Looking north

This weekend an infusion of energy will come from north of the river, the side we tend to overlook for jazz.

On Friday and Saturday, the Parkville River Jam is at English Landing Park, next to downtown Parkville. The free event has visual arts in addition to music.

The roster of talent includes keyboardist Max Groove at 7:30 p.m. Friday, followed by solid blues from John Paul’s Flying Circus at 9:30 p.m. The Saturday lineup has singer Angela Hagenbach at 3:30 p.m., Katy Guillen and the Girls at 5:30 p.m., 200 Proof with Big John Amaro at 7:30 p.m., and singer/songwriter Julia Othmer at 9:30 p.m.

And if you’re willing to drive farther up Interstate 29, there’s more jazz to be heard in downtown St. Joseph at the Coleman Hawkins Jazz Festival, named for the tenor saxophone pioneer who was born in that city.

That free event in Coleman Hawkins Park at Seventh and Felix streets has a Friday lineup including old-style jazz from the New Red Onion Jazz Babies at 7:15 p.m. and new stuff from the Project H at 8:45 p.m. On Saturday, the lineup includes the Northwinds Big Band featuring singer Kathleen Holeman at 5 p.m., pianist Charles Williams’ group plus singer Ron Gutierrez at 6:30 p.m. and organist Chris Hazelton’s Boogaloo 7 at 8 p.m.

Also of note, pianist Michael Pagán has been leading a jam session at Piropos Piano Bar for some time now, but this weekend marks the debut of the Michael Pagán Big Band, slated to appear once a month. They play from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday at 4141 N. Mulberry Drive.

Finally, there’s one more good Northland contribution on the Clay County side. The Vine Street Rumble big band, dedicated to capturing the sound of Kansas City in the 1930s, performs at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Woodneath branch of the Mid-Continent Public Library, 8900 N. Flintlock Road.


The Jazz Underground series at the Westport CoffeeHouse Theatre, 4010 Pennsylvania Ave., continues with pianist T.J. Martley and a program associated with Paul Bley at 8 p.m. Thursday. Enter the downstairs theater through the Westport CoffeeHouse.

The Blue Room, 1600 E. 18th St., has bassist Tyrone Clark’s group at 7 p.m. Thursday, neo-soul singer Lee Langston at 8:30 p.m. Friday and bassist James Ward’s band at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Guitarist Matt Hopper runs the Monday jam at 7 p.m.

Highlights at the Green Lady Lounge, 1809 Grand Blvd., include the group B Vibe at 9 p.m. Thursday; Chris Hazelton’s Boogaloo 7 at 10 p.m. Friday; organist Rich Hill’s group at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, followed by organist Ken Lovern’s OJT at 10 p.m.; organist Everette DeVan at 3 p.m. Sunday, followed by the Foundation 627 Big Band at 8 p.m.; Bram Wijnands’ B-3 Bombers at 9 p.m. Tuesday; and Lovern’s group at 9 p.m. Wednesday.

The next combination live performance and recording session for the “12th Street Jump” public radio show is at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Broadway Jazz Club, 3601 Broadway. They’ll pay tribute to blues giant Big Bill Broonzy. Singer Eboni Fondren has joined the regular cast.

Broadway Jazz Club also has Brazilian music from Arara Azul at 7 p.m. Thursday; organist Dave Creighton’s group at 5:30 p.m. Friday, followed by singer Megan Birdsall at 9 p.m.; singer Angela Hagenbach at 6 p.m. Saturday, followed by singer Kelley Gant at 9:30 p.m.; and singer/songwriter Barclay Martin’s group at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Take Five Coffee + Bar, 5336 W. 151st St. in Leawood, has tenor saxophonist Rich Wheeler’s group at 8 p.m. Saturday.

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