Happy In Bag

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Mood Indigo

It's almost a criminal offense that the opening of 2008 finds 18th & Vine so barren. But what remains is pure gold. And as I've written previously, it's the best place to start a weekend.

Bouncing between the Mutual Musicians Foundation's weekly "Rush Hour" and the Blue Room's "Indigo Hour" remains one of my favorite pastimes. Drinks are cheap and the music can be top-notch.

This last Friday, an ensemble of crusty old veterans working under the misleading name Smooth Groove delighted friends and family at the Foundation. Everyone who appreciates the Scamps should be all about these guys.

A very different scene took place at the Blue Room just around the corner. A younger and more fashionable audience enjoyed mild jazz fusion from the BMW Band.

My offer remains open- catch me down there on a Friday and I'll buy you a drink. (Not this Friday, though- I'll be cranking that with Soulja Boy Tellem several blocks away.)


  • At 4:06 PM, Blogger Bea said…

    I have heard a lot about the Blue Room, and I have to make plans to enjoy the place.

    I like Jazz, I'm illiterate about it, but I do like it. Unfortunately the only Jazz session I've enjoyed was one evening that we went to the Oak Room at the Intercontinental in The Plaza.

  • At 4:32 PM, Blogger the unthinking lemming said…

    Better go hear what jazz you can while you can, Bea. Jazz is fast becoming a dead art. As it is, not much of what is advertised as jazz is really jazz but an amalgamation of jazz fused to a number of more popular musical genres.

  • At 4:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    but there is still plenty of what lemming is referring to as "authentic jazz" available in kansas city. and sometimes the only way jazz can find new audiences and become a little appreciated is to fuse itself with another genre. just stay away from the completely watered down jazz...like that one famous soprano player who doesn't improvise...what was his name?

  • At 8:35 PM, Blogger kcmeesha said…

    We went to Blue Room about a month ago and it was great. I had nothing to compare it too but I liked it a lot.
    We also visited Jardine's when Angela H. was singing and it was excellent too.
    I regret not going all these years.

  • At 11:51 PM, Blogger the unthinking lemming said…

    I have no problem with fusioned jazz. My introduction to the genre, oh so many years ago, was Pat Metheny's Rock/Jazz Fusion. But even if you include Fused "jazz', KC has but a few (I would claim but one) venues that offer anything close to 'authentic jazz' on a nightly basis. Compared to 10, or even 5 years ago, the scene has become terribly stale and anemic. A perusal of the JAM's club listings shows an array so out of date as to still include the Phoenix, a club that has been closed some 6 months or more.

    But maybe I am wrong. Please, Anony, tell us where we can find this plethora of 'authentic jazz' here in KC. I am curious as to where all this great jazz is being preformed.

  • At 10:44 AM, Blogger Happy In Bag said…

    Don't let the ravings of my friend The Unthinking Lemming scare you away, Bea.

    You might try checking out the music of the 100+ KC-based jazz artists linked at my jazz site. Most of the guys under 50 stream music on MySpace.

    As you indicate, Meesha, there's a lot to love about the Blue Room.

  • At 6:31 PM, Blogger the unthinking lemming said…

    I have no intent of scaring anyone away from the local jazz scene, HIB. I do think a dose of reality is needed in assessing the current health of the local music scene, especially jazz. You have expressed much the same pessimism as I through 'Plastic Sax'. I'm not the one who admittedly abandoned perspective in 2003.

    I've seen your list of 100+ so-called KC based Jazz musicians. How many of them still call KC home? How many of them are dead? Even those that are still based in KC have to travel out of town to get steady work. Make no mistake, I know a number of these people on a personal basis. Furthermore, I have traveled virtually world wide to support their efforts and the music of a number of these KC based musicians.

    If you want to classify my opinions as ravings... so be it. I admitted that I may be mistaken and asked to be proven wrong. In response I get vilified as some sort of raving lunatic, friendly or not.

  • At 7:13 PM, Blogger Happy In Bag said…

    UL, you're the most faithful reader of Plastic Sax. I'm very grateful for your contributions.

    I used the word "friend" deliberately. What you consider vilification was merely intended as a playful jab.

    I just want young folks like Bea to feel free to enjoy a cocktail or coffee at the back of a jazz venue while John Brewer or Angela Hagenbach performs.

  • At 10:45 PM, Blogger the unthinking lemming said…

    'nuff said, HIB. I took your jab in the light it was intended despite my vigorous criticism intended as defense of my position. I appreciate your efforts towards bringing a younger audience to a music we both obviously feel very passionately about. I look forward to trading a few drinks some Friday night down at the Blue Room.


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