If you’re grumpy right now and want to stay that way, or if you’re mad at someone and not ready to get over it, or if you just don’t want to feel good at this moment, be advised: The first selection below is some of the funnest music you'll ever hear.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Last week I posted four tunes from the 1985 18th and Vine Heritage Festival (here). It was a street festival which ran through most of the 1980s and into the 1990s, before the district was rebuilt. The main stage stood on what was then a grassy lot at 18th and The Paseo. Another stage was erected in a grassy lot at 18th and Woodland, across from the Kansas City Call building, right about where Friends of Alvin Ailey office today. In between, 18th Street was closed and, for a September weekend, home to street vendors.
1985’s headline act starred Jay McShann on piano, Buddy Tate on tenor sax and clarinet, Al Grey on trombone, Milt Hinton on bass and Gus Johnson on drums. Below are four more numbers from that remarkable group. The recordings are far from perfect. They were recorded by an audience member sitting in the grassy field. You’ll hear voices and ambient noise.
But unless you were at the festival, this is Kansas City jazz you’ve never heard. Even if you were there, odds are you haven’t heard this music since. And especially after you listen to the first song below, an eleven-plus minute version of All of Me, I doubt ambient noise is going to matter. Not unless you’re bothered through the big smile you’re going to have on your face.
So have some fun and listen.