Friday, October 02, 2015

a night at the kcjo cotton club

The Cotton Club was at the epicenter of jazz creativity and fame during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and ‘30s.  It produced some of the greatest names in music and show business, legends such as Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson, Cab Calloway, Fletcher Henderson and scores of others.

The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra opened their season with a tribute to this era, and a sold-out house in Helzberg Hall of Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. The 17-piece orchestra presented “A Night at the Cotton Club,” with classic swing arrangements and a few variations of tunes like “Rockin In Rhythm,” “Stormy Weather,” “Echoes Of Harlem,” “Stardust.” “Minnie The Moocher,” “Creole Love Call,” and many others.

A backdrop displayed various images from the era, and a few different guests shared the stage.  Local educator Herman Mehari sat in as a guest trumpet, blasting out some good solo runs on a song or two.    Showing off dance moves of days past, the 627 Dancers had an incredible amount of energy, twirling around the stage.  They were a lot of fun to watch, and it is too bad that the show was not in a real dance hall.  I suspect there would have been a lot of folks up moving and grooving.

All in all, it was great way to kick off the opening season for The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra, and we look forward to their upcoming events.  There is really only the one photograph of the night, and of course the little collage of video snippets on the YouTube.




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