Tuesday, June 18, 2013
WDAF Radio Presents KC Jazz with Count Basie WDAF RADIO 1965
WDAF Radio 1965
This is some Kansas City pride on vinyl. I've talked to guys that own this album and claimed it to be the Holy Grail of Kansas City Jazz. It's not, in fact, I got it free at a yard sale. It does have Count Basie on it and is still readily available and easy to find. Further, a simple search on eBay shows that the LP was distributed well throughout the states.
It features two performances by Count Basie, who in the intro says, "It's good to be home," and renames 'April in Paris' to 'April in Kansas City'. Truth be told, Mr. Basie is not from Kansas City. However, his career starts here, his music developed with Charlie Parker in Kansas City, so he's ours, he's a local talent. Other than Count Basie, then names on this LP aren't all that big, solid acts but not being a jazz snob myself, most appear to be on the second tier. The fantastic thing about the LP is that many of the backing artist are local Kansas Citians sitting in. There's even a track with Raytown South High School players.
As for KC Jazz as a scene, I think it's safe to say, it died with Charlie Parker. True, the 1930's Kansas City is the birthplace of bebop and what has come to be known as Kansas City Jazz or the transition from Big Band era to improvisation and a more free flowing music. In the 1930's through the 1940's, KC just had to be an incredible scene. But, by 1965, the Jazz thing had become more a matter of pride than a true Kansas City art form. And, this album does the pride thing well.