Usher OMG Tour and Trey Songz at the Sprint Center

September 16, 2010

Get Your Usher Tickets NOW at Ticketmaster!

Tickets went on sale today for the Usher Concert in Kansas City in November! There are still a lot of great seats available.

Usher’s 25-date OMG Tour is heating up with the addition of special guest Trey Songz! This highly anticipated tour kicks off November 10th at Seattle’s Key Arena, and will give fans an unforgettable night of hit-filled, R&B-infused pop. Join Trey’s Angels now for access to pre-sale tickets beginning 12PM noon local venue time TODAY, Thursday September 16th and Friday September 17th.

Madea’s One Big Happy Family – Sprint Arena, Kansas City

January 29, 2010

Madea - One Big Happy Family
Tyler Perry was on the Steve Harvey Morning Show recently to discuss his new play, “Madea – One Big Happy Family“. Perry says that he wrote this play in honor of his Mother who recently passed away at the end of 2009. Perry says that his Mother loved Madea and he wanted to do this play as a means to grieve the loss of his real Mom.

Perry also said that he could have turned this into a movie but felt that the movie only gives one side of the Madea character and this play allows him to reconnect with his fans.

Madea is the main character of the play, “One Big Happy Family.” And Perry is not bashful when he says that he went all the way out for this play. He has about 19 semis, 8 buses, 70 cast members, a 9 piece band, and more! He said that people live this play wondering what has just happened to them.

Hurry! Great seats still available! Use Promotional Code: COMEDY.

Tickets are not available at the box office and they just went on sale today. There are some really great seat available and a chance to see Tyler Perry up close and personal in the wonderfully acoustic Sprint Center.
Get your tickets at TicketMaster right now! To take advantage of early ticket registrations, use the promotional code: COMEDY.

Kansas City Youth Jazz Band and Leon Brady

December 22, 2008

Leon Brady’s Kansas City Youth Jazz Band

Walking into the Kansas City Youth Jazz Band studios on a Satruday morning, th eactivity is surprising, the energy level awfully hgih for a Saturday morning, Leon Brady is in the main room, rehearsing a group of middle schoolers.  Brady has the quiet presence, and is able to get a desired result with a glance or a glare.  Read more

Mary Lou Williams (Mary Elfrieda Scruggs) Quotes

July 15, 2008

 Mary Lou Williams (Mary Elfrieda Scruggs) Quotes

One way and another I was having a ball – playing gigs, jamming and listening to fine musicians. Then came a crisis at home. My stepfather fell sick, and it meant I had to support the family.

He explained how ridiculous the clowning was, and there and then I decided to settle down and play seriously.

Within a few hours I had them off, was about ready to play the shows. That night I opened, and during the week Harris was over to the house to talk my mother into letting me leave home.

I have been tied up with music for about as long as I can remember. By the time I was four I was picking out little tunes my mother played on the reed organ in the living-room.

Now it happened he was known as a professional gambler, and he sometimes took me with him at nights – to bring him luck, he said.

Offers for me to play dances, society parties, even churches, were now coming in regularly. For most dates I was paid the sum of one dollar per hour, and they always tipped me at the end of the night.

Quite a few musicians came to our house. And my ma took me to hear many more, hoping to encourage in me a love of music. But she wouldn’t consent to my having music lessons, for she feared I might end up as she had done – unable to play except from paper.

When Seymour saw me seated at the piano at that first rehearsal, he shouted: ‘What’s that kid doing here? Call your piano player and let’s get started.’

Mary Lou Williams the Left Handed Piano Player Dominates Kansas City Jazz

July 15, 2008

Mary Lou WilliamsMary Elfrieda Scruggs was born on May 8, 1910.  After arriving in Kansas City, she met and married John Williams, a skilled saxophone and clarinet player.  Her reputation Read more

Jay “Hootie” McShann Jazz Pianist Who Helped Create Kansas City’s Sound

July 15, 2008

jay-mcshann.jpgJay McShann, born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, on January 12, 1916, was a veteran pianist closely identified with the Kansas City sound of jazz and blues.  He relocated to Kansas City in 1936 and organized his first big band by 1939, the Jay McShann Orchestra.  He was rediscovered in 1969 and began touring regionally and nationally.  As an elder statesman of jazz, McShann maintained a vibrant career for more than 70 years.  He died on December 7, 2006.

Jay “Hootie” McShann played with fellow pianist and bandleader Count Basie who together  established what came to be known as the Kansas City sound: blues rooted jazz driven by swinging horns laid over a powerful but relaxed rhythmic pulse.

One of the piano men he heard and would be influenced by was Earl “Fatha” Hines whose live broadcasts from Chicago’s Grand Terrace Hotel he would listen to. By 15, he was working with saxophonist Don Byas and other groups across the Southwest.

While traveling to Omaha in 1936, his bus stopped for two hours in Kansas City. McShann walked into a club, heard the music and never left. Within two days, he found work. He absorbed the energetic, blues-drenched style of Pete Johnson and other boogie-woogie masters, and in a city filled with now legendary musicians McShann established himself as a leading pianist and bandleader.

In 1937, he heard saxophonist Charlie Parker playing in a way that he had never heard.  Charlie was 17 years old at the time. 

Traveling to New York’s Savoy Ballroom in February of 1942 they did a stellar performance that was broadcast live, gaining them a huge audience in the process. Just as they seemed poised to take its place among the Swing era’s elite, WWII and the Petrillo Recording Ban put an end to the group’s rise to the top. As all commercial recording was to come to a halt in August of 1942 the Jay McShann big band made its last recordings on July 2nd. McShann himself was drafted in 1943 and served in the Army during part of World War II. After being discharged he settled in Los Angeles, where he started working with singer Jimmy Witherspoon. Between 1945 and 1950 they found success with a string of R&B flavored recordings like “Money’s Getting’ Cheaper”, “Shipyard Woman Blues”, and the huge hit in ’49 “Ain’t Nobody’s Business”. Sometime in 1950, McShann returned to Kansas City, where he owned a trash-hauling business and limousine service for a few years. Although out of the limelight he never strayed far from music. In December of 1957 he teamed once again with Witherspoon on a date for RCA Victor, after which he spent many years in relative obscurity.

His career picked up momentum once again following a successful European tour in 1969, and for the rest of his life Jay McShann either working solo or leading ensembles of various sizes, handling the vocals himself, performed and recorded frequently, both in the United States and overseas.There was a constant period of production that went from the ’70’s ’80’s ’90’s and amazingly into this century. His records sold very well, and he garnered fame and fortune with a new market of younger listeners.

In 1996 he teamed up with guitarist/producer Duke Robillard for “Hootie’s Jumpin’ Blues” following this with another great record in 1999, “Still Jumpin’ the Blues”, featuring Robillard and Maria Muldaur. They are both on the Stony Plain label.

He appears in “The Last of the Blue Devils,” a 1980 film about Kansas City jazz.  He was featured in a documentary about his life in 1978 and his 2003 recording, “Goin’ to Kansas City,” was nominated for a Grammy Award. He appeared in Ken Burns’s 10-part jazz series in 2000 and in a 2003 documentary on the blues directed by Clint Eastwood.

Jay McShann will always be identified with that swinging Kansas City jump blues sound he helped to define. He was fortunate in having had the health, fortitude, and longevity to have enjoyed the benefits reaped after a life long dedication to music. Jay McShann died Dec. 7, 2006 in Kansas City at the age of 90. 

Jay “Hootie” McShann left a mark in Kansas City as a memorable pianist and formed the Kansas City jazz and blues sound.

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