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Some essential gems of jazz history hidden in an obscure book I came across about about jazz in Kansas City
The book is built around dozens of great musicians who lived through its Golden Age telling the story…in their own words.
Some of the diamonds I uncovered:
* The essential differences between New Orleans, Chicago, and Kansas City-style jazz
* The very real trouble Lester Young had holding down a job and how Eddie Durham wrote arrangements specifically to make him and his unique tone employable
* What young Count Basie was like and why the extent of his genius is not fully appreciated
* A vivid picture of what a musical paradise Kansas City was in its prime and why it might have been THE most musician-friendly city in all of human history!
* The seldom-mentioned musical influences that produced a generation of master musicians in America’s Southwest – Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri – that fed Kansas City’s musical scene.
* A finely detailed description of exactly how Charlie Parker worked out his harmonic concept and two little-known musicians who coached him through the process.
* The extraordinary musical life of Mary Lou Williams from her teenage years on the road, to thriving in Kansas City, to mentoring young musicians like Thelonious Mon, Bud Powell and others and helping them work out their some of their classic compositions.
* A cogent argument for the case that Kansas City was where MODERN jazz was born.
Click here for music referenced in this reading
– Ken McCarthy
Jazz on the Tube
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