Jay McShann Birthday Celebration!
Kansas City Jazz Ambassadors Blog
by JAM
2M ago
Friends, family, and artists convene to remember the life and music of legendary pianist and bandleader, Jay “Hootie” McShann. Join us as we celebrate his  birthday on Friday January 12, 2024 in the Atrium of the American Jazz Museum. The event runs from 5:30pm until 8:30pm and will include live music, stories and more. McShann was born in Muskogee Oklahoma, and was later nicknamed Hootie, as in “drunker than a hoot owl”. During his youth, Jay taught himself how to play the piano through observing his sister's piano lessons and trying to practice tunes he heard on the radio. He was also ..read more
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Classical Vs. Jazz Conducting Style
Kansas City Jazz Ambassadors Blog
by JAM
2M ago
Friday evening December 8, 2023 UMKC Jazz Studies Program presented a concert in collaboration with UMKC Orchestra in White Hall on campus. The first two thirds of the program was UMKC Orchestra and the last one third was UMKC Jazz Studies. What interested me was the sharp contrast between the conducting style of the classical versus the jazz. The classical conducting style was constant, detailed, and elaborate movements. The conductors expended continuous energy. Body bobbing, arms animated. Lively, spirited, energetic. The jazz conducting style, on the other hand, was spare, minimal, with u ..read more
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President Mark Edelman, Retiring Jazz Ambassador
Kansas City Jazz Ambassadors Blog
by JAM
2M ago
As we enter 2024, the Jazz Ambassadors would like to shed light on those who have shepherded this non-profit organization for the good of the community over the past several decades. We begin by honoring retiring president / treasurer, Mark Edelman. Mark has enjoyed a long and successful career in show business. He played bass in some of the top soul bands in the area, while still attending Shawnee Mission High School. After high school, he attended college and continued his show business forays. “My first presentation in Kansas City—while I was still in law school—involved a student activiti ..read more
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Matt Otto: Umbra
Kansas City Jazz Ambassadors Blog
by JAM
2M ago
Origin Records 2023 It is an album of all originals, nine in total, penned by bandleader and saxophonist Matt Otto, KC staple, but also of LA and NYC. The album opens with “Little Things,” which is understated funk and contemporary—with a heavy, low, electric bass vamp (subtly propelling) beneath. Otto (sax) and Herman Mehari (trumpet) duet at first, calls in the dark. But that’s not all there is to this song (or the other songs) on this album. “Little Things” has a number of styles and movements, much like a Mingus tune: from funk to double-time swing to 6/8, two against three. Otto’s compos ..read more
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Rick Willoughby: Deep Bass Roots for Jazz Journeyman
Kansas City Jazz Ambassadors Blog
by JAM
2M ago
It all started four decades ago in the same town that gave birth to Pat Metheny. Veteran Kansas City bassist Rick Willoughby found his calling on the bass in his hometown of Lee’s Summit, Missouri. The violin was his first foray into music at age 3, the string bass at 11, and It all culminated when Rick picked up the electric bass at the age of 13. “I really don’t feel like I’m old enough to do anything for 40 years. I didn’t start reading music until I got into the school system. Ironically, when I got into the 4th grade and started school orchestra, my mom was my teacher,” Rick said. “She w ..read more
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Kansas City Jazz Ambassadors Blog
by JAM
3M ago
D ..read more
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Copy of Eboni: The International Sounds of Eboni Fondren
Kansas City Jazz Ambassadors Blog
by JAM
3M ago
The International Sounds of Songstress Eboni Fondren I have watched audiences fall in love with vocalist Eboni Fondren. And, I must admit, I fell for her the first time I met her. For several years, Everette DeVan hosted a sort of annual late-night loft party jam session. If you remember Everette, you may remember a cavalcade of sweet voiced young vocalists that he mentored. Many of those vocalists have become fixtures of the Kansas City music scene, and Eboni was a stand-out from day one. She has a way of taking the lowest of low down blues and singing it in a way that makes you think: “That ..read more
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Kansas City Jazz Orchestra: “In the Key of KC” (22 Sept. 2023)
Kansas City Jazz Ambassadors Blog
by JAM
3M ago
Kansas City Jazz Orchestra (KCJO) has a new album. And on it they swing hard, are hip and precise—and, in the tradition, they’ll make you want to take someone’s hand and dance. Although cut of the same cloth style-wise, “In the Key of KC” includes all new tunes, originals, like “Banana Slug,” “Blue Cheese,” and “Sir Charles,” alongside the KC classic (and album opener) “Moten Swing.” As the album’s liner notes reveal, “KCJO's fourth studio presents, for the first time, an album of arrangements by current members of the ensemble, with all but one track an original composition. This approach al ..read more
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Gabriela Martina: Honoring the Farm 
Roaming to Career Comfort
Kansas City Jazz Ambassadors Blog
by JAM
3M ago
Life tends to be a full circle event and for Amsterdam-based jazz vocalist, composer, and bandleader Gabriela Martina, nothing could be truer with the release of her new album “Homage to Grämlis” as she re-assembles the pieces of her music career that were scattered into disarray by COVID-19. “COVID was horrible. I lost my business, gigs, & tour. My existence. That's why I’m partially based in Amsterdam and Boston. Trying to figure things out. It takes a while to heal. It’s a matter of time,” Gabriela said. “Yet, I feel positive that the music gives something that you have to see in perso ..read more
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JAM Awards, Future of Jazz and KCJA Annual Meeting December 14 at the Uptown Lounge
Kansas City Jazz Ambassadors Blog
by JAM
3M ago
A trifecta of Kansas City Jazz is scheduled for Thursday, December 14th at the Uptown Lounge, located at the corner of 34th and Main Streets. Trombonist and educator Ryan Heinlein brings students from the Johnson County Community College Jazz Program to perform from 7pm to 9pm as part of the Jazz Ambassadors’ Future of Jazz program. Current members of the Jazz Ambassadors are invited to arrive at 6pm for the Annual Meeting of the Association. The Third annual Kansas City JAM Awards will begin at 8pm, as the City’s favorite jazz musicians, clubs and venues will be honored. Make sure to go onlin ..read more
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