Photography Exhibition Showcases Jazz Artists of the Kansas City Tradition
“The Fine Art of Jazz,” an exhibition highlighting the names and faces synonymous with the Kansas City tradition of American jazz, opens Thursday, June 18 at the Alexandria Black History Museum at 902 Wythe Street. The exhibition will be open through Saturday, August 8.
The Alexandria Black History Museum will host a free opening reception that evening from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The reception is open to the public, but reservations are requested. Those wishing to attend should call 703.838.4356.
Many of the musicians who got their start in Kansas City’s jazz hub, like Count Basie and Charlie Parker, 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.
Pulitzer Prize winner Dan White spent almost 20 years photographing and interviewing renowned jazz musicians. The result of his work is a series of 50 black-and-white portraits of Kansas City jazz musicians and vocalists, featured in “The Fine Art of Jazz.”
“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,” 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.”
The Alexandria Black History Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and suggested admission is $2. To learn more about the museum and Alexandria’s rich African-American heritage, please visit www.alexblackhistory.org.
The exhibition is organized and toured by ExhibitsUSA, a national program of Mid-America Arts Alliance, the nation’s oldest nonprofit regional arts organization. ExhibitsUSA sends more than 20 exhibitions on tour to more than 100 small and mid-sized communities every year.