Kansas City & All That Jazz: Documentary shows how an American art form grew up in the Midwest

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The story is filled with names like Charlie Parker, Count Basie, Jay McShann and many more--a host of amazing musicians that would call Kansas City home.

A new documentary, produced by KSHB-TV (Channel 41), shines the spotlight on the untold stories about the blossoming of jazz  in Kansas City.

Did you miss the show? There are three more chances to see it:

  1. 38 The Spot (KMCI-TV):  Friday, Sept. 18 at 8:30 p.m.
  2. Bounce: Tuesday, Sept. 15 at 11 p.m.
  3. Bounce: Saturday, Sept. 19 at 11 a.m.

WATCH: See a preview of "Kansas City and All that Jazz" in the video player above

Roots of jazz

The beginning of jazz in Kansas City can be traced back nearly a century ago to the 18th and Vine Jazz District and to the headquarters of The Mutual Musicians Foundation, once known as Local 627, which still stands today.

In fact, since 1930, musicians have gathered at the Foundation on Friday and Saturday nights after midnight to jam into the early morning hours. Sessions are open to the public.

MORE: Get to know the Mutual Musicians Foundation

Click on the pins below to find jazz in Kansas City!

For more than nine months, the 41 Action News documentary team has researched, chronicled and recorded the history of jazz in Kansas City.

A Kansas City Jam Session

Their exhaustive research has unearthed rarely seen or heard pictures and sounds from the very birth of jazz in Kansas City in the early 20th century.

This documentary takes us from the early sounds, through the swing and big band era, right up to today. The story of jazz is told through those musicians, past and present, which have made jazz what it is today. You will hear and see our musical history shown in a way you have not seen or heard before.

"Jazz was born in New Orleans, but it grew up in Kansas City." -- Bobby Watson

1917 – Musicians Union local 627 was formed.
1922 – Band lad by Carleton Coon and Joe Sanders first broadcast on radio from Kansas City. 1923 – Benny Moten’s Band became first African-American act to broadcast on radio from Kansas City.
1929 – Local 627 bought the building at 1823 Highland. That building still exists today and is operated by the Mutual Musicians Foundation.
1935 – Bennie Moten died. Count Basie started his own band.
1938 – Jay McShann hires Charlie Parker for his band.
1955 – Charlie Parker dies at the age of 34.
1997 – American Jazz Museum opens at 18th and Vine
2000 - Bobby Watson joins UMKC Conservatory of Music as Director of Jazz Studies
2015 – Mutual Musicians Foundation granted license to establish low power radio station in the old Union Hall.

The epicenter of jazz in our town can be traced back to that old building, now operated by the Mutual Musicians Foundation.

Few people in Kansas City know of its existence today. But the buildings’ cultural and historic impact and value on the outskirts of the 18th and Vine Jazz District cannot be measured.

It is the tie that binds all eras of jazz together. “Kansas City & All That Jazz” uses it as the centerpiece to explore our rich history of jazz that is uniquely ours.

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