Wednesday, October 28, 2015

footloose hyper house

Returning from a nice long Halloween break in New Orleans that lasted the better part of that month, there was not too much going on during the month of November 2002.  There was a House Party nearly every weekend, and really only one event featuring anything beyond local talent.

After playing as the opening act for the Delta Heavy Tour earlier in the year, DJ Hyper was passing back through on his own Bedrock CD/Record Release Tour, and stopped in for night.  While there was not a huge turnout, it was a Wednesday night in Kansas City after all.  Anyone lucky enough to be out got a real treat, and a flashback to the show early in the year.

A completely random event popped into the picture too this month too.  A local high school put on a performance of the infamous "Footloose," and having my camera along, I could not resist snapping a few shots of the show, since it was somewhat of a contrast with the underground music subculture and its sometimes rocky relationship with the community.

In an odd sort of reflection, as mentioned, the House Party dominated the scen during the month.  A small gathering under the banner of Maintenance, by Broklyn Squad Productions went down out south.  DJ cQuence hosted a birthday party for herself and another in the middle of the month, and Phukbed Productions pumped up the volume in MidTown to a full house, at their house.  THe last of the month, 604 Paramore Sessions was likely the best of all though, when 666 ZipCode Town Rekkids hosted a small personal gathering at their place in Topeka.

Those photos have now been restored for November 2002.  There is more to the story for this month, I am sure.  The details escape me at this time, and I have begun to add minor, more specific writings to the events themselves.  When you look through the Story Archive, you might stumble across some of these notes related to the events photographed.  It would be good to hear your thoughts, if you were at any any of these events.  Post a comment here, on the event, or get in touch if you would like to write about something in particular, more in depth... past ... present ... or even future.  Share your experience.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

tonelli american duo

We stopped in at The American Restaurant for a little chill jazz session with the Tonelli Duo.  This was one of the first official gigs in town for guitarist Mark Tonelli, after bidding farewell to regular duties with the Jazz Knights ensemble.

After spending 10 years with that group, he decided it was time for a change, and came to Kansas City to soak in the thick tradition of Jazz the town holds close.  Playing alongside a bassist, the two provided some light, enjoyable, and unobtrusive music for the early evening hours, enabling good conversation with those who had joined us.

Arriving before they started, we enjoyed a few appetizers and cocktails from the Lounge.  This was our first trip to this location, and we were happy to discover they supported numerous local Jazz musicians, hosting small ensembles regularly every week from Wednesday.

It runs through Saturday in the Lounge, playing mostly sounds of the Contemporary sort.  Situated as it is with a view of downtown, it is a nice little spot to unwind to some chill sounds, while watching night fall over the city.

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Friday, October 09, 2015

kraftwerk 3dkc

What would you say if I told you that you could drive a car across Germany all by yourself, without ever leaving the room?  I still remember my uncle asking something along those lines, and my 8-year-old mind was immediately fascinated with the idea.

Removing a brand new album, decorated with the image of a highway, he explained that he had some new music that could make that happen.  It was only music, but it was magic too, and had the power to transport me across the ocean, into a car and across Germany in special sort of road trip.  I would only need to close my eyes and pay very special attention to the music though.  There would be words that I would not understand, but it did not matter; if I listened closely, I would understand everything.

He placed the enormous headphones over my ears, and gently placed the needle on the record.  I heard the car start and back out of the driveway.  A horn honked and in no time, I was speeding down a highway.  Cars and trucks passed in different directions, some honking their horns.

Soon, rain fell and the car splashed through the puddles.  Eventually the night came, and I began to get sleep.  I could not though.  I had to keep driving, but the record was over.  The experience was every bit as real as my mind enabled it.  My uncle flipped the record and I slipped into the passenger seat to close my eyes for a while longer to the sounds of the Kometenmelodie until Mitternacht.  Somewhere along the way, I drifted off on a Morgenspaziergang.

My introduction to Kraftwerk and the Autobahn was my first memory of electronic music; perhaps, there were others before that, but this is the most vivid.  I followed them off and on for years, always amazed out the latest thing they had krafted, but never got an opportunity to witness a performance.  I finally got that chance though, and was pleased beyond words.

The Kraftwerk 3d performance in Kansas City was Atomic and amazing, on both an auditory and visual level.  There seemed to be a greater intensity in their live performance that just cannot be matched in the studio.  I expected a sterile studio copy and I received much more.

The visuals were fantastic, and easily recognizable from many of the videos I had seen, but 3d added a whole new flavor to the mix.  The full house that had waited 40 years on their return was not disappointed.

The lack of dance floor was likely the only downside to the show.  I thought it numerous times, and those I had come with, thought the same.  It did not deter those insistent on getting their groove on though.  Several times, I looked back to the bar to see folks at the bar dancing.  Everyone really seemed to enjoy the show.  I did not hear a single word of disappointment; that is excepting the 40-year wait.  Hopefully, the next intermission is not that long.

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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.