Monday, August 13, 2012

In Lieu of 1000 Words: Gerald Spaits Quartet

I ran into Gerald the night before. I told him I’d be at Take Five the next evening to hear his group, and I’d bring my camera. I’ve featured plenty of the terrific young jazz musicians in Kansas City today, but not so many of the guys who….

“Are old?” Gerald interjected.

No, not old. I haven’t showcased nearly enough of the guys who were playing jazz in Kansas City when I first discovered the music in the 1980s. Because these musicians are still performing at their magnificent peak.

Take Gerald Spaits, for instance. This in-demand bassist will support both Karrin Allyson and Mike Metheny in this year’s Prairie Village Jazz Festival. You only command those gigs when you’re acknowledged as one of the best.

There’s far too few opportunities to hear Charles Perkins these days. I first learned his name as the star alto soloist with Eddie Baker’s New Breed Jazz Orchestra. Charles stood out as a saxophonist I couldn’t hear enough. He still is. Meanwhile, Jack Lightfoot dominated as one of this city’s premiere trumpeters. Arny Young on drums fits right in.

Last Friday night at Take Five Coffee + Bar, the Gerald Spaits Quartet proved why Kansas City has been known as home to jazz masters continuously from Basie to today.

These four you can call outstanding. You can call them incredible. You can apply nearly any adjective of praise.

Just don’t call them old.

(As always, clicking on a photo should open a larger version of it.)

The Gerald Spaits Quartet. Left to right: Gerald Spaits on bass, Arny Young on drums, Charles Perkins on alto saxophone, Jack Lightfoot on trumpet.

Gerald Spaits

Charles Perkins on alto

Jack Lightfoot

Arny Young

Charles on bass clarinet

Charles, Arny and Jack

Enjoying Gerald's bass

Charles on flute

The Gerald Spaits Quartet at Take Five Coffee + Bar


  1. One of my favorite bands and each are favorites as individual artists too. Too often, the propensity in the media is to worship youth - even in jazz these days it seems. Most artists will tell you that they really didn't start playing until they had lived to be 40-45 years old. That's the truth. It is cool when you see artists being recognized at the peak of their powers like this. Thanks KCJazzLark!

  2. That's some world-class jazz right there!


Comments are welcome. If you prefer, you can reach me directly at kcjazzlark(at)gmail(dot)com.