Kansas City Jazz

Everything about the swinging music we love to DJ

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swinginstyle
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Kansas City Jazz

#1 Post by swinginstyle » Sat Apr 10, 2004 11:46 pm

Could someone explain to me the difference between Kansas City Jazz and other styles? Also, could you supplement this with particular songs, artists, or albums?

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Doug
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#2 Post by Doug » Sun Apr 11, 2004 7:18 am

KC jazz was heavily blues based and riff based whereas, for example, the dominant east coast jazz of the '30s was based more on the pop song structure. So a KC song commonly was based around a standard blues form, either 8-bar, 12-bar or 16-bar structures. There is a ton of writing about blues forms, but I'll recommend Samuel Charters "The Bluesman" and Jeff Titon's "Early Downhome Blues" for some good info on the structure & roots of Blues.

The more common jazz song structure was an 8-bar structure (also counted as 4 eights by dancers because a single phrase typically occupies two bars) typically with song form AABA. Most of the Jazz Standards are based on this form and most swing music (not jump blues) is based on this form.

Examples of KC Bands are Bennie Moten, Andy Kirk, Count Basie and Jay McShann. Listen to Andy Kirk's "Froggy Bottom" for some classic 12-bar KC sound. If I recall correctly, Moten Swing by Bennie Moten is based on an 8-bar blues structure while Tickle Toe by Count Basie is 16-bar blues based and One-O'Clock Jump is a 12-bar blues.

McShann did a LOT of 12-bar based music.

On the other hand, bands such as Lunceford and Goodman, not KC bands, predominantly used the AABA pop form and many bands, but especially the white bands, were not so heavily riff based. Listen to Stompin at the Savoy or Goodman's Jersey Bounce or Lunceford's Taint What You Do or Four or Five Times for very clear examples of pop-song forms. Other AABA songs include Ain't Misbehavin', Don't Get Around Much Any More, It's Only A Paper Moon, Lady Be Good, Take The A-Train.

There is also a ton of stuff out there regarding the various jazz styles, but a particularly accessable and available book is Mark Gridley's "Jazz Styles". Yes, I know that it is somewhat oversimlified, but it is still pretty decent.

Finally, a GREAT KC jazz musician was Charlie Parker!

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Yakov
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#3 Post by Yakov » Sun Apr 11, 2004 9:21 am

"moten swing" is a riff on "i found a new baby"... listen to one, you can sing the other no problem

(there's a fun version of the latter on "Hot" by the S.N.Z.)

-yakov.

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kitkat
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#4 Post by kitkat » Sat Apr 02, 2005 9:03 am

Sooo...the Kansas City theme is a popular set, and it seems I might be DJing at KCLX. What artists should I build up to be able to do a good classic set of KC music?

Was there any music recorded in KC, or is the best you can hope for big city (like NY) recordings soon after bands left KC?

1) Bennie Moten
2) Count Basie
3) Mary Lou Williams / Andy Kirk
4) Jay McShann, though when did he go back to KC? When he left Basie, was he playing stuff that still sounded like "classic" KC swing? (2)(3)
5) Julia Lee [and her boyfriends] (2) (3)

I'll get around to linking the rest of these later.

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#5 Post by jmatthew » Sat Apr 02, 2005 11:00 am

Fantastic explanation Doug! I'm about 10x smarter about Jazz than I was 10 minutes ago, thanks! :)
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Matthew
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#6 Post by Matthew » Sat Apr 02, 2005 4:07 pm

kitkat wrote:Sooo...the Kansas City theme is a popular set, and it seems I might be DJing at KCLX. What artists should I build up to be able to do a good classic set of KC music?...
How about Lester Young playing clarinet with the Kansas City Six, and Ben Webster playing with Bennie Moten's band? That would be seriously cool.

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Swifty
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#7 Post by Swifty » Sat Apr 02, 2005 11:44 pm

I recommend this CD as a nice primer to the KC sound.

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#8 Post by CafeSavoy » Sun Apr 03, 2005 5:14 pm

kitkat wrote: 4) Jay McShann, though when did he go back to KC? When he left Basie, was he playing stuff that still sounded like "classic" KC swing? (2)(3)
[/size]
When did he leave Basie?

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kitkat
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#9 Post by kitkat » Sun Apr 03, 2005 5:51 pm

Or...not...and I suck at history and have who-played-with-whom wrong. *blushes*

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main_stem
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#10 Post by main_stem » Mon Apr 04, 2005 8:41 am

Doug wrote:Moten Swing by Bennie Moten is based on an 8-bar blues structure....
Moten Swing is a typical AABA format, not blues. Further more just because a song is in the AABA format dosen't make it "pop".
Last edited by main_stem on Mon Apr 04, 2005 8:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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main_stem
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#11 Post by main_stem » Mon Apr 04, 2005 8:51 am

kitkat wrote:Sooo...the Kansas City theme is a popular set, and it seems I might be DJing at KCLX. What artists should I build up to be able to do a good classic set of KC music?

Was there any music recorded in KC, or is the best you can hope for big city (like NY) recordings soon after bands left KC?

1) Bennie Moten
2) Count Basie
3) Mary Lou Williams / Andy Kirk
4) Jay McShann, though when did he go back to KC? When he left Basie, was he playing stuff that still sounded like "classic" KC swing? (2)(3)
5) Julia Lee [and her boyfriends] (2) (3)

I'll get around to linking the rest of these later.
You forgot Harlen Leonard and his Rockets, Hot Lips Page, Buster Smith, Pete Johnson and Big Joe Turner
Last edited by main_stem on Mon Apr 04, 2005 11:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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#12 Post by Campus Five » Mon Apr 04, 2005 11:27 am

Moten Swing is was the out chorus for to "You're Driving Me Crazy". "I found a new baby" isn't even close - its in a minor key.
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sonofvu
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#13 Post by sonofvu » Mon Apr 04, 2005 5:06 pm

main_stem wrote:
kitkat wrote:Sooo...the Kansas City theme is a popular set, and it seems I might be DJing at KCLX. What artists should I build up to be able to do a good classic set of KC music?

Was there any music recorded in KC, or is the best you can hope for big city (like NY) recordings soon after bands left KC?

1) Bennie Moten
2) Count Basie
3) Mary Lou Williams / Andy Kirk
4) Jay McShann, though when did he go back to KC? When he left Basie, was he playing stuff that still sounded like "classic" KC swing? (2)(3)
5) Julia Lee [and her boyfriends] (2) (3)

I'll get around to linking the rest of these later.
You forgot Harlen Leonard and his Rockets, Hot Lips Page, Buster Smith, Pete Johnson and Big Joe Turner
If you can find Harlan Leonard! Also check out Eddie Durham. I like his version of Moten Swing. It's a tad jump bluesey but I like it.
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prosynia
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#14 Post by prosynia » Tue Apr 05, 2005 11:09 am

a good place for more names and other stuff:

http://www.umkc.edu/orgs/kcjazz/mainpage.htm

there is also a great cd called "the real kansas city of the 20's 30's and 40's" on sony. it's great to hear the progesssion of music, but also to get an idea of how the kc bands feel different than other bands at the same time.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/de ... B000002ACU

stephanie

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Swifty
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#15 Post by Swifty » Tue Apr 05, 2005 11:44 am

prosynia wrote:there is also a great cd called "the real kansas city of the 20's 30's and 40's" on sony. it's great to hear the progesssion of music, but also to get an idea of how the kc bands feel different than other bands at the same time.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/de ... B000002ACU

stephanie
I think this was put out as a companion disc to the Kansas City movie soundtrack. It has some great stuff, although the recording quality isn't that great.
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