Time for another round of calendar picks from KC Studio editor Alice Thorson for Father’s Day weekend! Tonight, author Karen Chilton discusses the work of pianist Hazel Scott at the American Jazz Museum. The Kansas City Symphony closes out their 2016-17 season with Rachmaninoff’s Second and Barber’s Violin Concerto, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Saturday night, the James Ward Band performs a free concert at the Blue Room. And on Sunday, take your father to the Nelson for some BBQ and music in Rozzelle Court, or to Unity Temple for a free evening of cello and piano duets. For more ideas this weekend, visit Kansas City’s most comprehensive arts calendar at kcstudio.org/events.
June 15 @ 6:00 pm
American Jazz Museum
In this fascinating biography, Karen Chilton traces the brilliant arc of the gifted and audacious pianist Hazel Scott, from international stardom to ultimate obscurity.
A child prodigy, born in Trinidad and raised in Harlem in the 1920s, Scott’s musical talent was cultivated by her musician mother, Alma Long Scott as well as several great jazz luminaries of the period, namely, Art Tatum, Fats Waller, Billie Holiday and Lester Young. Career success was swift for the young pianist—she auditioned at the prestigious Juilliard School when she was only eight years old, hosted her own radio show, and shared the bill at Roseland Ballroom with the Count Basie Orchestra at fifteen. After several stand-out performances on Broadway, it was the opening of New York’s first integrated nightclub, Café Society, that made Hazel Scott a star. Still a teenager, the “Darling of Café Society” wowed audiences with her swing renditions of classical masterpieces by Chopin, Bach, and Rachmaninoff. By the time Hollywood came calling, Scott had achieved such stature that she could successfully challenge the studios’ deplorable treatment of black actors. She would later become one of the first black women to host her own television show. During the 1940s and 50s, her sexy and vivacious presence captivated fans worldwide, while her marriage to the controversial black Congressman from Harlem, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., kept her constantly in the headlines.
In a career spanning over four decades, Hazel Scott became known not only for her accomplishments on stage and screen, but for her outspoken advocacy of civil rights and her refusal to play before segregated audiences. Her relentless crusade on behalf of African Americans, women, and artists made her the target of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) during the McCarthy Era, eventually forcing her to join the black expatriate community in Paris. By age twenty-five, Hazel Scott was an international star. Before reaching thirty-five, however, she considered herself a failure. Plagued by insecurity and depression, she twice tried to take her own life. Though she was once one of the most sought-after talents in show business, Scott would return to America, after years of living abroad, to a music world that no longer valued what she had to offer. In this first biography of an important but overlooked African American pianist, singer, actor and activist, Hazel Scott’s contributions are finally recognized.
Public reception opens at 6 pm, program begins at 6:30 pm.
June 16 & 17 @ 8:00 pm
June 18 @ 2:00 pm
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
A sizzling season finale! Let the passionate melodies and lush orchestration of Rachmaninoff wash over you as Michael Stern and the Kansas City Symphony bring the 2016-17 season to a glorious close with the Russian composer’s Second Symphony. Witness Philippe Quint soar as he delivers technical fireworks and melodies in Barber’s Violin Concerto. Phenomenon, by Thai composer Narong Prangcharoen, “was inspired by mysterious and unexplainable natural phenomena, such as the Aurora Borealis, the Bolides, and, especially, the Naga Fireballs.”
The G. Kenneth and Ann Baum Concert Comments will begin one hour prior to the concert. Concert Comments is a lively and informative discussion about the music being presented, frequently hosted by Music Director Michael Stern, Executive Director Frank Byrne and the featured soloist of the concert weekend.
June 16 @ 8:30 pm | Free
American Jazz Museum – The Blue Room
The James Ward Band was formed January of 1997 at The Blue Room located on 18th and Vine in Kansas City, MO. James, a native of Kansas City, attended Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, where he studied Tuba, and played Acoustic and Electric Bass in numerous bands while attending college. James’ experience, skill, and reputation as a Bass Player led him to opportunities to perform with greats throughout the years such as Marcus Roberts, Wycliffe Gordon, Nat Adderly, Mark Whitfield, Bobby Watson, John Cushon, Patti Austin, Jonathan Dubose, Claude “Fiddler” Williams, Lisa Henry, Chris Barnett, Jackie Mills, Russell Malone, Marcus Printup, Peter Martin, Scotty Barnhart, and Will Matthews of the Count Basie Orchestra, Gospel Artists Dorinda Clark-Cole and Donald Lawrence, and a host of other artists. James also toured South Africa with Oleta Adams.
The James Ward Band (The JWB) is a Contemporary Jazz/Smooth Jazz Band, whose show consists of a combination of Latin, R&B, Fusion, Funk, Jazz, and Gospel. On May 12, 2007, they released their debut album entitled “In Perspective”, which debuted on the Smooth Jazz Indie Charts at #42 and quickly soared to the top 20 and stayed for a number of weeks.
In Perspective was followed by “Groove Axis” released July 2010, now available on CD Baby, itunes, emusic, and amazon.com. Groove Axis features band members James Ward on Bass, Angela Ward on Keyboards and Arranging, Ray Stewart on Percussion, Matt Hopper on Guitar, Gerald Dunn on Soprano and Tenor Sax, and Ryan Lee on Drums. Guest artists appearing areAaron Simcox on Alto Saxophone on Echoes written by song writer, Valerie Gregory; Clint Ashlock on Trumpet, Jason Guedeou on Trombone, and Karetta Carter on Trombone, the featured horn section on Got to Get You Into My Life, which also features Jonathan DuBose on Lead Guitar; Vibraphonist Greg Carroll, Guitarist Matt Hopper, and Ashley Wenberg featured on Flute on Waves; the writing of Eric Grover on 2 Minute Chase featuring Ryan Lee on Drums; the Drum Programming of Kevin Johnson on the title cut, Groove Axis; and Aaron Mayfield on synth bass on the Bet That Up Reprise. The combination of these various styles from each musician is what makes the James Ward Band unique.
June 18 @ 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Celebrate Dad’s Day in Rozzelle Court Restaurant KC Style with picnic food and jammin’ musicians, BBQ meats, picnic-style sides, and house-made desserts. After lunch, enjoy the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park or your favorite galleries.
June 18 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm | Free
Unity Temple on the Plaza
Join Internationally Acclaimed Musicians, Jennifer Kloetzel, cello and Robert Koenig, piano for a beautiful evening of Cello & Piano duets.
Kloetzel and Koenig are colleagues at the University of California, Santa Barbara music department, and will present this free concert at the Fillmore Chapel of Unity Temple on the Plaza.
The program consists of a passionate and stormy work by a young Ludwig van Beethoven, a lush homage to Czech composer Antonin Dvorak’s beloved Bohemian forest by, a rhapsody inspired by vignettes of the Argentinian plains by Alberto Ginastera and a romantically lyrical sonata by Russian great, Dmitri Shostakovich. The concert opens with a rarely performed virtuosic work, created by great Spanish cellist Gaspar Cassadó, which was passed off for many years as his arrangement of a much older work by Frescobaldi.