CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 24, 2011 |
Documentary filmmaker Bruce Ricker didn't start out making films. A native New Yorker who earned a law degree from Brooklyn Law School, he arrived in Kansas City in 1970 as a teaching assistant at the University of Missouri and soon began practicing law. But the seed for a new career was planted in 1972 when U.S. Atty. F. Russell Millin took the jazz-loving Ricker to the Mutual Musicians Federation, the city's old black musicians' union hall where veteran Kansas City jazzmen gathered for after-hours jam sessions.
January 27, 1987 |
Three American jazz musicians have been named recipients of $20,000 Jazz Masters Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts' Music Program. The winners are Cleo Patra Brown of Denver, Melba Liston of New York and Jay McShann of Kansas City, Mo. They join 15 other American jazz artists who have been so honored by the federal government over the last five years.
November 19, 1985 |
"The Big Tenor: The Complete Ben Webster on EmArcy." EmArcy. Webster (1909-1973) was a big man with a warm, full tenor sax sound to match both his size and his improvisational stature. This two-record set of 1951-3 sessions finds him leading his own groups, working as a sideman with Johnny Otis and Jay McShann, even backing Dinah Washington (a riveting "Trouble In Mind") and The Ravens. There are numerous alternate takes and previously unissued masters.
February 15, 2000
Gus Johnson, 86, a leading drummer for some of the great jazz bands of the 1930s to the 1950s, including Count Basie's legendary ensemble. Born in Tyler, Texas, Johnson moved to Kansas City after high school and played with a variety of groups before landing a job with pianist Jay McShann's ensemble, which featured Charlie Parker on alto sax, in 1938. The drummer stayed with that unit until 1943, when he entered the Army. In 1948, he joined the Basie band, replacing Jo Jones on drums.
May 29, 1992 |
Rare Orange County performances by saxophonist Phil Woods, trombonist Carl Fontana and baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan are on tap during this year's "Jazz Live at the Hyatt" series being sponsored by the Newport Beach hotel and Long Beach-based KLON-FM radio. The 12-concert series begins tonight with legendary pianist and bandleader Jay McShann (see accompanying story).
September 15, 1986 |
The everlasting blues drifted into town on Friday and landed at Marla's Memory Lane in the person of Jimmy Witherspoon. One could not have hoped for a more eloquent messenger of the blues muse. Except for his opening ballad, "Gee, Baby, Ain't I Good to You?" Witherspoon simply delivered every blues variation known to humankind. His demeanor variously saturnine and mischievous, Witherspoon can bring fresh conviction to hoary verses.