Category Archives: Jazz

The National Recording Registry, KC Edition: Part 3

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To mark the release of this year’s additions to the National Recording Registry, we’re going to feature registry recordings with ties to Kansas City.

The National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress honors and preserves recordings of significant cultural, musical and historical value. The registry contains 17 recordings that has ties to Kansas City.

Part 1 contains recordings added in 2002-2004.

Part 2 contains recordings added in 2005-2007.

Mary Lou Williams

2008
Night Life, Mary Lou Williams. Kansas City’s jazz scene featured two exceptional female pianists: Julia Lee and Mary Lou Williams. At the time of this recording in 1930, Williams was the pianist, composer and arranger for Andy Kirk and His Clouds of Joy, the top band in KC and the midwest. This astonishing recording is further notable by the fact that she was only 20 years old.

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The National Recording Registry, KC Edition: Part 2

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To mark the release of this year’s additions to the National Recording Registry, we’re going to feature registry recordings with ties to Kansas City.

The National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress honors and preserves recordings of significant cultural, musical and historical value. The registry contains 17 recordings that has ties to Kansas City.

Part 1 contains recordings added in 2002-2004.

2005
One O’Clock Jump, Count Basie and His Orchestra. Basie’s signature recording was released in 1937 and features some of the best musicians ever to have come from Kansas City, including Lester Young on tenor sax and Buck Clayton on trumpet.

Record producer Dave Dexter Jr., who grew up in Kansas City.

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The National Recording Registry: KC Edition, Part 1

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To mark the release of this year’s additions to the National Recording Registry, we’re going to feature registry recordings with ties to Kansas City.

The National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress honors and preserves recordings of significant cultural, musical and historical value. The registry contains 17 recordings that has ties to Kansas City.

Continue reading

Historic KC Recordings: “One O’Clock Jump” and “In the Mood”

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To mark the release of this year’s additions to the National Recording Registry, we’re going to feature registry recordings with ties to Kansas City.

Count Basie

One O’Clock Jump
Added to the registry in 2005, One O’Clock Jump by Count Basie and His Orchestra is perhaps the best example of Kansas City-style jazz. It’s a riff-based song that features a “head” arrangement that the musicians learned by ear, rather than one that’s written down.

Although developed and recorded in New York, One O’Clock Jump is pure Kansas City and features some of best players to ever come from here, including Lester Young on tenor sax, Buck Clayton on trumpet and Walter Page on the double-bass.

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Stan Kenton Recording Added to National Registry

Although this is news is not directly tied to the Kansas City area, it’s worth noting that a recording by Stan Kenton, the Wichita-born bandleader, has been added to the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress.

The library announced today that Artistry in Rhythm by Stan Kenton and His Orchestra was one of 25 historic recordings to preserved for its cultural, artistic and historic merit.

According to the library, Kenton composed Artistry in Rhythm in 1941. Because of a musician’s union-imposed recording ban stemming from a dispute over royalties, it was not recorded until 1943.

This live performance was recorded in London in 1971.

KC-Area Resident Inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Niki Sullivan (far left) was the rhythm guitarist for the Crickets, Buddy Holly’s backup band. After retiring from the music business, Sullivan relocated to the Kansas City area, where he lived until he died in 2004.

The late Niki Sullivan, the original rhythm guitarist in Buddy Holly’s backup band the Crickets, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in mid-April.

The Crickets were inducted with several legendary backing bands, all of whom were excluded when their stars were inducted.

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DiDonato and Metheny Win Grammys

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Joyce DiDonato giving her acceptance speech for Best Classical Vocal Solo at yesterday's Grammy Awards.

KC natives Joyce DiDonato and Pat Metheny won Grammy awards Sunday afternoon. The awards were part of the Grammy Pre-Telecast, available on the web at grammy.com.

DiDonato won the Grammy for Best Classical Vocal Solo for her album Diva, Divo.

Metheny won his 19th Grammy (by my count, not confirmed) for his album “What’s It All About,” in the Best New Age Album category. This also is the fourth genre in which he’s won an award. The bulk of Metheny’s awards have been for jazz, but in addition to New Age, he’s won Grammys in rock and Americana.

Grammy Preview: “‘Round Midnight,” by Karrin Allyson

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Jazz pianist/vocalist Karrin Allyson was born in Great Bend, Kan., about 250 miles west of Kansas City. She lived in Kansas City in the 1990s and early aughts before relocating to New York.

She’s been nominated for a Grammy four times, including a nomination at this year’s Grammy Awards. Her album ‘Round Midnight was nominated for Best Jazz Vocal Album.

In this promotional clip from her label, Concord Records, Allyson discusses making the album.

KC Ties in Jazz, Opera Grammy Nominations

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Nominations for the 54th Annual Grammy Awards were announced yesterday, and four nominees have ties to Kansas City.

Pat Metheny’s What’s It All About was nominated for Best New Age Album. Metheny grew up in Lee’s Summit, Mo., a suburb in the southeast part of the Kansas City area.

Karrin Allyson

Vocalist Karrin Allyson was nominated for Best Jazz Vocal Album for ‘Round Midnight. Allyson was born in Great Bend, Kan., and lived in Kansas City during the 1990s.

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Frank Driggs: An Appreciation

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Jazz historian Frank Driggs died yesterday at age 81. Driggs not only had the world’s finest collection of jazz photographs, he is considered to be one of the foremost experts on Kansas City jazz.

His book Kansas City Jazz: From Ragtime to Bebop — A History, written with Chuck Haddix of the Marr Sound Archives at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, is essential reading for anyone interested in the history of Kansas City and its music.

I use this book all the time, and it’s valuable not only for its precise roll call of Kansas City’s musicians, but for it’s chronicle of the social and cultural forces that helped shape Kansas City music in the first half of the 20th century.

If you’re interested in learning more, read Griggs’ obituary in the New York Times, as well as this 2005 profile from Smithsonian.