Today’s post is a shameless plug for which I make no apology. Because the organizer of Johnson County Community College’s Jazz Winterlude has been a friend for about a quarter century, since I was a volunteer organizer of the Kansas City Jazz Festival and she was the main contact with our partner, Kansas City Parks and Recreation.
So I know first hand that when Doreen Maronde commits to a project, it will be meticulously planned and an event worth attending. That statement’s not part of the plug. That’s just a fact.
The second Jazz Winterlude starts this Thursday, January 20th, at 7 p.m. with the New Jazz Order Big Band and guest Megan Birdsall in Polsky Theatre, within the Carlsen Center, on the Johnson County Community College campus. If you’ve never heard this group at their Tuesday night gig at Harlings, or at one of their Blue Room performances (one of which I raved about here), you have no excuse now.
Winterlude continues with concerts running from 4 to 10:15 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and concludes with a jazz brunch on Sunday. The complete schedule and ticket information is here.
There’s the plug. Now let’s have some fun. Because I offered to prepare a Twitter feed and Facebook page for Winterlude this year, and to populate both daily with fun facts supplied by the musicians performing in the festival about themselves. For various reasons, neither the feed nor the page congealed as originally envisioned, and with only 20 or so followers each, I know few of you have seen the fun facts.
So here’s a quiz. Every question is about a Kansas City jazz musician performing at Winterlude. Think you know our local jazz stars? Now is your chance to find out, with the ten questions that follow. Answers are at the end.
1. Which KC pianist was born in Eindhoven? And where the heck is Eindhoven?
2. Here’s a clue: The largest school of jazz in Europe is Hilversum Conservatory. That Eindhoven-born pianist is a Hilversum grad. Who might he be?
3. Let's look at another musician. This one has toured with B.B. King, Grover Washington, Lou Donaldson, and backed Redd Foxx in Vegas. He plays tenor sax, electric bass, guitar, clarinet, flute, harmonica, drums and sings. Who is this?
4. Her grandmother taught music. Her mother sang. Her father took her to the Mutual Musicians Foundation. She was playing piano at age 12. As a viola student at Ottawa University, she had a chance to work with Aaron Copland. Who is she?
5. At age 8 he sold newspapers on a street corner in Joplin, MO. At age 10 he sold drinks at Starlight, but was fired for tipping over a container of ice. For three years he worked Swope Park Concessions and saved money to buy his first drum set. Name him.
6. He grew up in a Nebraska town with no record store, so for music he’d visit a local supper club which featured a Dixieland band. Who is he?
7. She first sang with the King’s Men, a Shawnee Mission North group that also featured saxophonist Mike White. Later, Marilyn Maye helped her start in jazz by lending her pianist Sammy Tucker for an audition. Which singer is this?
8. He’s played bass with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra in New York and the Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabakin Big Band in L.A., and he’s toured South America and Japan with Carmen McRae. But he started on piano before switching to clarinet in Topeka. Who is he?
9. Now consider another bassist. He’s played the Montreux Jazz Festival, the San Jose Jazz Festival and the World’s Fair in Seville, Spain. Who?
10. He played trumpet in high school. But he’s known as a pianist and has accompanied Louis Bellson, Ruby Braff, Randy Brecker, Karrin Allyson, Nick Brignola, Bob Brookmeyer, Gary Burton, Conti Condoli, Doc Cheatham, Al Cohn, Buddy DeFranco, Paquito D’Rivera, Gary Foster, Ubie Green, Eddie Harris, Red Holloway, Carmell Jones, Jay Leonhart, Kevin Mahogany, Marilyn Maye, Rob McConnell, David “Fathead” Newman, Anita O’Day, John Pizzarelli, Dianne Reeves, Red Rodney, Pat Metheny, Marshall Royal, Bud Shank, Jack Sheldon, Zoot Sims, Grady Tate, Clark Terry, Bobby Watson and Phil Woods. Whose resume is this?
1. and 2. Pianist Bram Wijnands was born in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, and graduated from Hilversum Conservatory in 1991, but has lived in KC now for nearly 20 years.
3. Dwight Foster has toured with B.B. King, Grover Washington, Lou Donaldson, and backed Redd Foxx.
4. Wild Woman Millie Edwards came from a family that loved music. At age 12 she was playing piano, and by 19 she was singing solo.
5. Tommy Ruskin paid for his first drum set by selling concessions at Swope Park.
6. Baritone saxophonist Kerry Strayer grew up in a small Nebraska town with no record store.
7. Singer Julie Turner started with the King’s Men out of Shawnee Mission North. But she credits singer Marilyn Maye for her start in jazz.
8. Bassist Bob Bowman has played New York, Los Angeles, South America and Japan with some of the biggest names in jazz.
9. Bassist Gerald Spaits has played Montreux, San Jose and Seville.
10. The pianist who has accompanied Bellson, Braff, Brecker, Allyson, Brignola, Brookmeyer, Burton, Condoli, Cheatham, Cohn, DeFranco, D’Rivera, Foster, Green, Harris, Holloway, Jones, Leonhart, Mahogany, Maye, McConnell, Newman, O’Day, Pizzarelli, Reeves, Rodney, Metheny, Royal, Shank, Sheldon, Sims, Tate Terry, Watson and Woods is…Paul Smith.