Monday, August 31, 2009

Diverse Friday

I'll post one of my too long essays later this week. But today, a shorter post to recount a terrific Friday night at The Blue Room.

The group was Diverse, some of the outstanding young KC musicians I've previously blogged about (and will again). The great saxophonist Bobby Watson (also head of UMKC's jazz program) joined them at the end of each set. As did, on the second set, a surprise guest.

For the first set, The Blue Room was packed, standing room only (I counted more than 20 without seats). On Diverse's web site (here) they say there was a 45 minute wait to get in (fortunately, I arrived early enough to avoid that). People crowding the room ranged from 20-somethings to 60-somethings. Don't tell me there's no interest in jazz in KC, or that jazz doesn't appeal to younger people. Friday, I saw otherwise.

Midway through the second set, another patron walked in with his girlfriend and, coincidentally, sat down next to me at the bar extending along the ramp to the upper level. He just looked to me like someone who missed combing his hair before heading out. I paid him no further attention until it was announced that Kenny Loggins was in the audience, and that guy next to me raised his hand. Turns out Loggins and Messina was in town for a show at the Ameristar Casino, and afterward Kenny Loggins came down to The Blue Room for some jazz, and he was sitting next to me.

At the end of the set, Kenny joined Diverse and Bobby on stage for two songs (he needed to Google the words for the second one). Gotta say, Kenny Loggins still has one helluva voice and can belt out a jazz standard spectacularly. You could see on their faces the members of Diverse (after all, these are guys right out of college) were amazed to find themselves backing Kenny Loggins singing jazz standards.

Diverse was outstanding. Their CD is getting national airplay and deserves it. Just hearing them would have been a great night of jazz. But Bobby Watson and Kenny Loggins joining them made for a more-special-than-anyone-expected night at The Blue Room.

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