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.  




TSPN Announces Statewide Suicide Prevention License Plate

The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network, in coordination with the Jason Foundation, AFSP and other advocacy groups, announce they are reserving orders for the official specialty license plate promoting suicide prevention authorized by state legislation. In order to get this license plate for any, TSPN must collect 1,000 order reservations; without these 1,000 there will ... (click for more)

Special Event Street Closings Announced For Next Weekend

Friday, June 29: Nightfall   - Market Street will be closed from East 8th Street to East 10th Street, and ML King Blvd will be closed from Broad Street to Georgia Avenue from  5:30 pm until 12:00 midnight  on  Friday, June 29 . This closure will be in effect each  Friday  night through  Aug. 31 . West Village ... (click for more)

Funeral Service For John P. Franklin Will Be Friday; Public Memorial Service Is Thursday Night

Funeral services will be Friday for John P. Franklin, Chattanooga's first elected black official in the post Jim Crow era. Mr. Franklin died Thursday at the age of 96. He will lie in state in the chapel of John P. Franklin Funeral Home from noon until 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday,. Public viewing will resume at 11 a.m. on Thursday at Olivet Baptist Church, and a ... (click for more)

Woman, 20, Killed While Trying To Cross Highway 153 Early Sunday Morning

A woman, 20, was killed early Sunday morning while trying to cross Highway 153. The victim was identified as Ansleigh Kaylyn Harrison. At approximately 1:28 a.m. , Chattanooga Police officers responded to a pedestrian struck at 5256 Highway 153. A Toyota Sequoia driven by 31-year-old Asher Powers was traveling north on Highway 153 in the inside lane. The pedestrian ... (click for more)

John Porter Franklin, Sr.: A Community Gem

In 2016, It was   my honor to have been chosen to recognize African American History Month at the February HCDE board meeting.   Throughout my life, I’ve been taught and exposed to African American history both nationally and locally. In reflecting on what to share, I thought about all that was going on in our community and more importantly in our educational community ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: What’s 28% Of 2,500?

There is a strong likelihood, this based on new data obtained from the Hamilton County Department of Education, that only 700 of this year’s approximately 2,500 high school graduates can tell you what 28 percent of 2,500 is. The 2018 test scores, used to determine what percentage of students in public schools are “scoring on track,” averaged 28.4 percent in our 32 middle and high ... (click for more)