’Twas the night before Christmas and all through K.C.
Jazz fans sat ’round restless with less shows to see.
Sure, we still had the Folly, the Gem Theater, too,
And Green Lady, Majestic, a Room known as Blue.
But some clubs had closed, fewer places to cheer.
And we lose RecordBar at the end of the year.
The situation’s not dire. Jazz faces no doom.
But the holidays bared just a wee bit of gloom.
Then off in the distance there arose such a clatter
I yanked off my earbuds to see what was the matter.
I ran to the window and to my eyes did appear
A miniature sleigh pulled by eight tiny reindeer.
On my roof it did land. My dog quickly was riled.
My phone I did grasp. Nine-one-one I might dial.
A man dropped down my chimney. I was stunned. In his hand
Was the new Christmas CD by the Count Basie band.
He dressed all in red, with a laugh jolly and quick.
He was either a madman or the elf named St. Nick.
“I mean no harm,” he did say. “Here, this album’s for you.
“It’s music that riffs on the good kind of blues.
“I heard your despair, but you need worry not.
“Not with the jazz talent this city has got.
“Eighty years next November, can you believe,
“Since from Kansas City, Count Basie did leave.
“But a culture was born and continues to live
“In this great city as musicians still give
“Of their time and their talent. To students they teach
“The wonders of jazz. Generations they reach.
“Some honor tradition, some go new directions.
“But both find an audience and make a connection.
“On Mehari! On Lambert! On Megan Birdsall!
“On Eddie Moore, Shay Estes, and all!
“Hear the B-3 played by Hazelton’s hand!
“Or hear the People’s Liberation Big Band!
“On Molly! On Eboni! On Lisa Henry!
“On Jazz Disciples! Tyrone Clark! There’s so many!
“Hear New Jazz Order each Wednesday night!
“Or to K.C. Jazz Orchestra you can delight!
“On Lowrey! On Kessler! And on Hagenbach!
“In Kansas City, all see that jazz has a lock
“On a style that was born here. And talent that grows
“Will find its new venues. This much I know.
“Clubs come and they go, but the culture remains
“And talent this great you will not contain.
“Jazz now may not thrive as in eighty years past
“But in K.C. be assured its presence will last.”
St. Nick stood in the chimney, winked once, then he rose.
He sat in his sleigh and shook soot from his clothes.
As he flew off, I sat up quick in my bed.
’Twas all but a dream. It was all in my head.
I walked to the window and stared into the night.
But all that I dreamed, I knew it was right.
I turned back to my bed and, wait, what did I see?
There on the night stand…how’d I get that new Basie CD?