Mutual Musicians Foundation gets head start on 2017 centennial

Although its centennial isn’t until 2017, the Mutual Musicians Foundation is kicking off its 100th birthday celebration next year with the first in a series of events.

Once known as Local 627 of the Musicians Protective Union, the organization’s founding African-American members invented what became the Kansas City jazz style in the 1920s and ’30s.

The foundation continues to host late-night jam sessions on weekends at its headquarters in Kansas City’s historic jazz district.

The purpose of the three-year rollout, foundation vice president Anita Dixon said at Wednesday’s announcement, is to showcase Kansas City “as an international mecca for jazz enthusiasts.”

In 2014, the foundation will invite 10 bloggers widely known in the jazz world to come to Kansas City and write about the history of the music and the 18th and Vine area.

Conferences on jazz and the city’s role in its development are set for 2015 and 2016 in partnership with the Historic Kansas City Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution, with a weeklong celebration closing out the event in 2017.