Fine Art Of Jazz Opens At Bessie Smith Cultural Center

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Fine Art of Jazz, an exhibition showcasing the names and faces synonymous with the Kansas City tradition of American jazz, opens Monday at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center.    

In conjunction with the exhibition the Bessie will host a gallery talk on Tuesday, April 29, at 6 p.m. Participants will learn more information about the musicians featured in the show and the history of jazz. The event is free to members of the Bessie and museum admission for non-members. 

Review for The Fine Art of Jazz:

Charlie Parker, Pete Johnson, Mary Lou Williams, Count Basie, Jay McShann and Booker Washington, these and many more musicians and vocalists associated with Prohibition-era jazz found a welcome home in Kansas City nightclubs, bustling with crowds eager for the entertainment. The Roaring 20s saw local and out-of-town musicians forge a distinctive Kansas City style of jazz as they enjoyed the camaraderie of all-night jam sessions with boisterous, noisy clubs as the backdrop. Many of the musicians who got their start in Kansas City’s jazz hub became household names across the nation in the 1930s and 1940s as jazz exploded in popularity, but the genesis of the movement also left its mark forever on the Kansas City music scene. Today the tradition jams on, with clubs across the city featuring jazz nightly.

It is this mixture of activity, tenacity and nostalgic charm that moved Pulitzer Prize winner Dan White to spend almost 20 years photographing and interviewing renowned jazz musicians. 

 “I began photographing jazz musicians in 1987, hoping to create a visual record of these talented artists and to help preserve Kansas City’s tradition as a birthplace of jazz,” Mr. White says. “I’d been listening, watching and talking to those in the local jazz scene for quite some time. They were very open to passing along their knowledge and traditions with anyone who shared their love of the music; I wanted to capture some of this feeling before it slipped away. Players like Rusty Tucker, Speedy Huggins, Milt Abel and Pearl Thuston. They had a certain sound. When they were on, there was nothing like it. I’ve shot more than 50 portraits of these players and singers over the past 20 years. It’s a good feeling to have captured part of Kansas City’s history.”

The result of M.r White’s work is a series of  50 black-and-white portraits of Kansas City jazz musicians and vocalists, complete with commentary from exhibition curator Chuck Haddix, co-author of Kansas City Jazz: From Ragtime to BeBop – A History.

The exhibition is organized and toured by ExhibitsUSA, a national program of Mid-America Arts Alliance and presented locally in partnership with the Bessie and Jazzanooga.  




Cleveland Recycles 5K Set For June 9

The City of Cleveland will be hosting its Fourth Annual Cleveland Recycles 5K Run and 1 Mile Walk at 8 a.m. on Saturday, June 9. "The goal of this event is to raise awareness about the benefits of recycling and reducing litter in our community. This year, the selected course takes you to downtown Cleveland and offers a scenic route through the heart of our city," organizers ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Office Of The City Attorney To Hold 3rd Annual Compliance Week

A weeklong event beginning Monday will be centered around the standards of conduct and internal controls. Compliance Week provides training and panels to city employees and information to the public covering an array of topics from Equal Employment Opportunities to protections under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. “The City of Chattanooga is required to conduct annual training ... (click for more)

Man Who Killed 4 At Waffle House Is In Custody

Travis Reinking, 29, the suspect in the shooting at a Waffle House near Nashville on Sunday, has been taken into custody, according to police. Reinking, who killed four people and injured two others at a Waffle House near Nashville on Sunday morning was on the loose Monday morning and had been added to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's ‘Top 10 Most Wanted’ list. ... (click for more)

Pet Raccoon That Was Destroyed Did Not Have Rabies

A pet raccoon that was destroyed in order to test for rabies after biting a neighbor child did not have rabies, Chattanooga attorney Chris Jones. The family has been advised it can pick up the remains of Boomer at the Chattanooga Hamilton County Health Department. Attorney Jones, who specializes in wildlife cases, earlier argued there was no valid reason for health ... (click for more)

Set Up A Council On Love, Not A Council On Hate - And Response

In Mayor Berke's April 19 version of the Berke Bulletin, he announced plans to establish a Council on Hate and indicated a focus on tolerance. I beg of him to reconsider that plan. One problem in Chattanooga and in other places in America is that there are some people who have already established an informal version of a Council on Hate. I suggest that a more productive plan ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Always Know The Facts

I adore the fact so many of America’s high school and college students are very active in our battle against violence in our schools but bemoan the fact that when you combine youth and ‘lack of experience’ they often are misguided and ill-informed. The best example came on Saturday when a reporter for Campus Reform walked around the Cal State-Santa Barbara campus asking the students ... (click for more)