Okay, I’ll name it for you: The People’s Liberation Big Band of Greater Kansas City.
Now, name a jazz big band which mocks then performs (actually, mocks and performs) selections by Kurt Weill, sung by two jazz vocalists and a renowned operatic tenor.
I’ll give you a hint: It’s the same jazz big band which performed selections to scenes from the silent film Battleship Potemkin at The Record Bar before a couple hundred people on International Workers Day, May 1st.
If you’re thinking this jazz big band show must have been half crazy, well, that’s part of the fun. And I think it’s more than half.
I’ve pictured The People’s Liberation Big Band of Greater Kansas City before (here). The whimsy behind some of the best big band music you’ll hear – best because of the outstanding talent taking that stage – makes their first Sunday of the month shows some of the most anticipated in Kansas City. Especially twice a year when they add special guests and features for jazz shows like none other you’ll find around here.
Guests like vocalist Shay Estes, superb Tulsa vocalist Annie Ellicot, and opera tenor Nathan Granner. And features like, well, a projector showing a silent film.
Maybe you had to be there for this to make sense. So let’s try this: Take a glance at the scenes below from The People’s Liberation Big Band International Workers Day show. It was as wonderful as it looks (as always, clicking on a shot should open a larger version of it).
The People's Liberation Big Band of Greater Kansas City, directed by Brad Cox, playing portions of their score to the silent film Battleship Potemkin. They have a complete score ready if a theater would show the film. Anyone?
Tulsa super jazz vocalist Annie Ellicot, Kansas City super jazz vocalist Shay Estes, and super jazz bassist and sometimes vocalist Jeff Harshbarger sing while The People's Liberation Big Band performs.
Opera tenor Nathan Granner joins Shay to sing jazz with the band.
Jeffrey Ruckman on accordian with Annie on vocals
Nathan, Annie and Shay sing
Annie Ellicot and Shay Estes enjoy the band
Annie sings, Brad Cox directs, both with intensity
Annie and Shay fronting The People's Liberation Big Band
The People's Liberation Big Band of Greater Kansas City on International Workers Day at The Record Bar