American Jazz Musuem in Kansas City is a reminder of American culture!
A century ago, there was a movement in American that centered around Jazz music. It is was very popular at the time and it is remembered at the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City today. It was quite interesting to me because I grew up on hard rock. I learned that there are some unknown influences of Jazz in the music I head banged to.
For those who don’t know the background, there was a blues genre and what they called ragtime. People started to bring them together in what they would call Jazz. The first appearance of this was in New Orleans at the turn of the 20th century in the black communities. It took many different styles and form them into something that took America by storm in the 1920’s in what we call the Jazz Age.
In the 1930’s, there became known a sub-genre known as Kansas City Jazz. It tried to bridge the gap between big band and what was coming in Bebop. It is commonly believe that Jazz was born in New Orleans but grew up to maturity in Kansas City.
Today, this is remembered at the museum that is in the same building as the Negro League Museum in the 18th and Vine District.
What is at the American Jazz Museum?
It is a smaller museum that has a film about the changing music style of America in the early 1950s. It also has some exhibits that would you expect at any museum. The cool part of it was the live Jazz music they have at the end of the tour though. It was cool to see them do it like they use to back in the day.
Being from Kansas City, I realized how “white” my knowledge was when I visited. I just was not really aware of the depth of the musical influence on the black culture in the years past in my own city. I was a little embarrassed to be quite honest.
It was cool to see some things like Louis Armstrong’s trumpet and Charlie Parker’s saxophone. At least, I knew who they were despite being a complete idiot to jazz music in American culture. I also enjoy the listening stations that they had as well.
What really amazed me about it was that this was the only museum in the world that is trying to preserve the Jazz music of the last century.
Blue Room Jazz Club is cool!
They have a nightclub onsite but I was there during the daytime. It is suppose to be very cool. If you can make it down there, it is worth checking out for sure.
Every evening is a different style of Jazz music that people are jamming out to. On Mondays, it is Big Band and on Thursday, it is Latin Jazz for example. I wish I would have been able to stick around to hear them play. Since I am from KC, I am sure I will stop by and listen sometime.
The bar opens at 5 in the afternoon and the music normally starts around 7:30. I am not sure when it stops. I assume they follow the citywide ordinance of 1:30am.
One thing that was interesting about the bar was that all the money they do make from it goes to education of young jazz players in the Kansas City area. It is a pretty cool way to help some young, get a beer and enjoy the Jazz music that was famous in yesteryear.
How to find the American Jazz Museum
It can be found in the 18th and Vine district at 1616 East 18th Street in Kansas City, Missouri. You can get there by car or bus. If you are coming by car, you can easily park in the garage on the southwest corner.
If you are coming from downtown, take 12th Street to the Paseo and turn left at 18th street. You will only go one block to Vine and you are there. If coming from the airport, take I-29 until the Paseo and turn off at 18th as well.
The cost of the admission is $10 but you can pay $15 and also check out the Negros League Museum as well. It is open every day besides Mondays from nine in the morning until six in the evening.