American Jazz Museum, Kansas City, Missouri

In early twentieth-century Kansas City, segregation confined the African American community to a neighborhood around 18th and Vine, isolated from the white world. In this neighborhood, the black community cultivated two forms of jazz music, swing, which was born in Kansas City, and Bebop, which came from elsewhere but grew and developed in the city. Kansas City now celebrates its jazz heritage at the American Jazz Museum. The museum features permanent exhibits on jazz greats Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, and Charlie “Bird” Parker. The “Studio 18th and Vine” exhibit displays the components of a working music studio with five listening stations to each visitors about the instrumental sections of a jazz band. A resource center called “Jazz Central” houses a collection of research materials, Internet access to jazz-related Web sites, and more than 100 great jazz recordings. The museum’s “Blue Room” recreates the old nightclub of the same name, which was one of the hottest venues in the 18th and Vine District during the 1930’s and 1940’s. The Blue Room displays exhibits on the Kansas City jazz heritage by day, and serves four nights a week as a working jazz club featuring local and national jazz artists. The Charlie Parker Memorial Plaza, featuring a 17-foot bronze reflection of “Bird,” is located just west of the American Jazz Museum at 17th and Vine. Charles Christopher Parker was born in Kansas City, Kansas, August 29,1920, but he cultivated his craft in the Missouri city. The museum is housed with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in 18th and Vine Complex, in the heart of Kansas City’s historic African American neighborhood.

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