Monday, November 2, 2009

This 'n That 'n Amen, Bro

Plastic Sax and I don’t always agree (and that opinion diversity is a good thing) but today’s PS thought I salute with a hearty Amen, Bro! The post (here) bemoans the pitiful paucity of KC jazz Twitterers, especially in comparison to other KC music fans.

I’ve touched this topic more than once. The longer we fail to engage the communications of this century, the harder it becomes to engage new fans of jazz.


Case in point: The Plastic Sax post also notes a pitifully paltry 200 jazz fans anything but filling a 1000 seat theater on Saturday. Safe to assume this references the latest Folly jazz series performance. Neither theater nor performers, the post tells us, tweet.

I wasn’t there. Frankly, I knew nothing about the performing group until reading Joe Klopus’s column in the Thursday Star, and by then my weekend plans were long since set. Why didn’t someone inform those of us who might have had an interest prior to that? It’s a new media world out here, Folly, and we invite you to join us. Clearly, ads in the newspaper and columns in JAM magazine are no longer enough.

In fact, Folly, how many patrons did you attract beyond season ticket holders? And how much did those newspaper ads cost? Then, if we assume everyone who came besides subscribers saw your ads, how much did those ads cost you per additional ticket sold? More than the price of the ticket sold, that’s my guess.

More people came out to see Julie Othmer at Jardine’s last month with, as I recall, nary a newspaper ad in sight. Jardine’s built interest through blogs (their own and others) and email blasts, all of which built word of mouth which built excitement.

Twitter and Facebook and new media give you, Folly, the opportunity to build the same interest and excitement at little cost. Seems to me, with 800 seats empty, there’s little to lose by dipping your theatrical toe into the new media waters.


I’ll be out a lot, in clubs, this month (and I’ll tweet from them, that’s a promise). A preview of this week alone shows why.

Wednesday night at Jardine’s I’ll be delightfully hearing Shay Estes and Trio ALL. I’ve written repeatedly about the spectacular young jazz talent overflowing KC, and here’s four of the best. Shay’s magnificent voice delivers the standards as they were meant to be. Her backing of Mark Lowrey on piano, Ben Leifer on bass and Zack Albetta on drums would put all too many jazz trios to woeful shame.

Then, Thursday at the Blue Room, you cannot top a group with Bobby Watson, T.S. Monk and Jon Faddis. Can not. This Thursday, anyway, New York City has nothing on jazz to be heard in KC.

(An aside: I saw T.S. Monk his first time in KC, at the Blues and Jazz Festival. From the stage, he looked out in wonder, and told how amazing it was to be in Kansas City, which his father -- the great pianist Thelonious Monk -- spoke of so often.)

Saturday afternoon I’ll return to Jardine’s for Kim Park’s CD release party, a CD of his father’s music. I was involved with the jazz festival when Kim came to KC. We worked with Kansas City Parks and Rec that year. I recall the Parks and Rec’er booking concerts, when she first heard Kim, commenting that you could tell from his playing that his father had been a musician, too. But it wasn’t until I bought an LP collection of John Park playing that I knew how great a saxophonist he was. I’ve digitized that now-scratchy record to make a John Park playlist on my iPod. I don’t know whether the CD to be released on Saturday is the same music or not. But I know this: I want it.

Saturday night and Shay is singing again, this time at the Phoenix. May be a different group backing, I’m not sure. And I may well head back out to find out. Two nights of hearing her sing in a week is decidedly not too much.


KCUR’s excellent KC Currents program this week features a feature on pianist Bram Wijnands, playing excerpts from his Majestic 7 CD. It’s the last story of the hour. As I write this, the podcast is not yet online, but when it is, it will be found here.

(Bram and the Majestic 7 will be playing Jardine’s Wednesday of next week. Guess where I’ll be that night….)

An update: KC Currents tweeted a direct link to their Bram Wijnands segment (starting to understand, guys, how Twitter can spread the word?). You can find it here.


  1. This is the first I've heard of the November 5 schedule change at The Blue Room. Thanks for the tip.

  2. The Folly Theater does have a Facebook page and send regular e-mail blasts, but if you don't sign up, you obviously won't receive them, just like on Twitter.


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