Feeling Blue? Warm Your Heart With a Little Jazz
November 10, 2012
A friend is visiting from out of country, and I've been trying to introduce him to a bit of our fine city's culture. We've been to the Nelson-Atkins. We've walked around the Plaza. We've spent a few evenings in Westport and explored the Independence Square. But last night, he really got a taste of what Kansas City has to offer. We went down to 18th and Vine to enjoy a little night-life, complete with some local jazz!
We started out at The Kansas City Blues and Jazz Juke House, which we stumbled upon during our quest for a quick bite to eat. A meal wound up being a meal, a drink, and lots of amazing music and atmosphere. We were both blown away by how easy-going the environment was. It was loud but immersive. A stark contrast to the more refined Blue Room, where we found ourselves next.
We enjoyed the music of Bob Bowman and Bowdog with Megan Birdsall on vocals. It was a truly amazing experience! Despite being a Kansas City native, I had never experienced the nightlife of 18th and Vine. I would recommend it to residents and visitors alike. It's the perfect way to warm your soul!
Jazz is one of those genres that is difficult to define. It involves improvisation, deliberate distortion of pitch, and syncopated rhythm; but it can't be tied down to any single definition. It is often described as a constantly changing art form, a living musical organism of sorts. Jazz originated among the black ghettos of New Orleans and made its way north and east as unemployed musicians migrated out of the south. Kansas City was a mecca during the 1920s, a booming place of opportunity. It attracted the best that Jazz had to offer. One of the most notable was Charlie "The Bird" Parker, an innovative saxophonist and composer who had a large role in the development of bebop. You can explore other KC jazz greats here.
And don't forget to make it out to 18th and Vine one of these days. Tour the Jazz and Negro League museums, grab some barbecue, and check out some of the awesome jazz clubs that KC has to offer. You never know, you might just catch a performance of one of tomorrow's stars!
North Independence Branch