Kansas City Jazz. Hard-swinging yet laid back. Spontaneous and bluesy. With its walking bass and elaborate riffing, the KC jazz style could only have come out of the 1930s KC jazz scene. Come celebrate the legendary musicians who made it happen. These legends were motivated by the pure joy of playing, and at this memorable concert, we'll show you why.
“Round About Midnight” The Music of Miles Davis and John Coltrane
Friday, April 21, 2017 – 8 PM in Helzberg Hall
You’ll know you’ve experienced the true ART OF THE BIG BAND! when THE KANSAS CITY JAZZ ORCHESTRA plays a very special tribute to two of the greatest jazz artists of all-time: Trumpeter MILES DAVIS and Saxophonist JOHN COLTRANE. New arrangements of “SOMEDAY MY PRINCE WILL COME,” “ON GREEN DOLPHIN STREET,”“MY FAVORITE THINGS,”“A LOVE SUPREME,” plus other ‘Miles’ and ‘Trane’ classics!
Hard Habit To Break! Friday, March 3, 2017– 8 PM in Helzberg Hall
It’s timeto join THE KANSAS CITY JAZZ ORCHESTRA for a spectacular big band celebration of some of the great songs of the ‘horn-based’ rock bands of all-time. You’ll hear brand new arrangements of some of the greatest hits of iconic pop artists of the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s who dominated the popular music charts: “CHICAGO,”“BLOOD SWEAT & TEARS,”“EARTH, WIND & FIRE” and many others. Even “AFTER THE LOVE ISGONE,” there’ll be horns-a-plenty and feet a-tappin’ in Helzberg Hall!
The Annual Holiday Christmas Concert The KCJO Swings The Nutcracker!
Tuesday, December 6, 2016- 7 PM (early show) in Helzberg Hall
Mr. Tchaikovsky’s is going to swing! Question: What happens when Artistic Director Clint Ashlock & The KCJO borrow a little Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, and add swinging new arrangements of your favorite selections from the “The Nutcracker Suite?” Answer: You have a musical recipe for a fun, innovative, and highly entertaining concert of this timeless classic, that the whole family will enjoy. As Jackie Gleason would have said, “How suite it is!”
Classic Big Band Broadway! Friday, October 7, 2016 –8 PM in Helzberg Hall
The KCJO will swing some of the greatest songs ever heard on the Broadway stages from some of America’s finest composers: Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “SOMEENCHANTED EVENING,” Kander & Ebb’s “CABARET,” Lerner & Loewe’s “ICOULD HAVE DANCED ALL NIGHT!,” Irving Berlin’s classic show-stopper “THERE’S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS!”, Bernstein & Sondheim’s immortal “MARIA” from West Side Story, and many others!
The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra’s 2016 Gala concert will be a swingin’ 50th anniversary tribute to one of the greatest recordings of all time: “Sinatra At The Sands!” which featured Kansas City’s Count Basie Orchestra, arranged and conducted by Quincy Jones. Join The KCJO, under the direction of Clint Ashlock, and vocalist Ron Gutierrez as they ‘swing and sing’ such classic Sinatra songs as ‘Come Fly With Me,’ ‘My Kind of Town,’ ‘Where or When,’ ‘One for My Baby,’ and many others. As Frank might have put it, “It’s going to be one ring-a-ding, crazy cool night!”
“From New Orleans to Chicago” Friday, April 29, 2016 – 8 PM in Helzberg Hall
Explore the roots of great jazz from its beginning in New Orleans by the likes of Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet and King Oliver, to the Chicago jazz styles of Benny Goodman, Bix Beiderbecke and Ben Pollock. In between this journey, we'll stop in Kansas City to hear some Count Basie classics and experience the great W.C. Handy's immortal "St. Louis Blues" and his iconic "Beal Street Blues."
“British Invasion!” The British are coming… Friday, February 26, 2016 – 8 PM in Helzberg Hall
With apologies to Roger Miller, “England will swing like The Kansas City Jazz Orchestrado!” We’ll feature great songs and arrangements from World War II such as “A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square” all the way to the Beatles and Tom Jones, when British artists and songwriters dominated the music charts in the 1960s. It’ll be a fun, nostalgic, and definitelya swinging concert!
“A Swinging Kansas City Christmas! featuring multiplatinum-selling singer/composer ANN HAMPTON CALLAWAY
Tuesday, December 8, 2015 - 7 PM (early show) in Helzberg Hall
Join The KCJO and our very special guest vocalist, ANN HAMPTON CALLAWAY, as we Swing into the Holidays – Kansas City style – with our annual holiday show! Keep your Yule cool and join us for exciting classic big band hits and wonderful arrangements of your favorite holiday songs.
“A Night At The Cotton Club” Friday, October 2, 2015 – 8 PM in Helzberg Hall
The KCJO will feature the music of the great musicians, singers and orchestras who performed at New York’s legendary night club, The Cotton Club , during the 1920s and 1930s: Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson, Fats Waller, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Lester Young, Cab Calloway, KC’s Count Basie and many others!
The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra Celebrates George & Ira Gershwin
Saturday, May 9, 2015 – 8 PM in Helzberg Hall
Please join The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra in a memorable celebration of the timeless music and lyrics of George and Ira Gershin. The Great American Songbook will literally come to life, on stage. The highlight of the evening will be a world-premiere performance of a new orchestral arrangement by KCJO Artistic Director Clint Ashlock of George Gershwin's groundbreaking Rhapsody in Blue, featuring Kansas City piano great Joe Cartwright at the Steinway.
A Tribute To The Legendary Stan Kenton Orchestra
Friday, April 17, 2015 – 8 PM in Helzberg Hall
When the legacy of the big band is discussed, the great Stan Kenton Orchestra is always a topic of admiration. Join The KCJO as we perform such Kenton classics as “Peanut Vendor,” “Street of Dreams,” “Eager Beaver,” and “Artistry in Rhythm.”
The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra Goes Hollywood!
Friday, February 27, 2015 – 8 PM in Helzberg Hall
A concert worthy of an Academy Award! You’ll find yourself “Over The Rainbow” in Helzberg Hall when The KCJO performs new arrangements of the best music written for motion pictures over the past nine decades, since movies began talking in 1927 with Al Jolson’s “The Jazz Singer.”
The New York Voices!
Tuesday, December 9, 2014 - 7 PM (early show) in Helzberg Hall
Swing into the holidays with our annual holiday show! Keep your yule cool and join us for exciting big band and vocal arrangements of your favorite Christmas and holiday songs with special guests, The New York Voices – a sleigh-swinging concert for the entire family to enjoy.
The Evolution Of The Big Band
Friday, October 3, 2014 - 8 PM in Helzberg Hall
The KCJO and guest artist Hal Melia will take the audience on a “swinging musical journey” featuring the unforgettable music of Count Basie, Jay McShann, Benny Goodman, Fletcher Henderson, Tommy Dorsey (and many others) through the “heyday” of the big band era.
“Take the A Train” (or drive your car!) to Helzberg Hall as The KCJO pays tribute to the music of the legendary songwriter, pianist and band leader Duke Ellington. It doesn’t get any better than this!
2014 Annual Season Gala
"The Greatest Big Band Hits of All-Time!"
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 – 8 PM in Helzberg Hall
90 years ago John Philip Sousa, the March King, made this observation: "Jazz will endure just as long as people hear it through their feet, instead of their brains." On April 26th The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra guarantees that you'll have a wonderful, old-fashioned "toe-tapping" great time!
Friday, March 21, 2014 – 8 PM in Helzberg Hall
Trombones rule the night! Celebrated trombonist Wycliffe Gordon – a former member of the Wynton Marsalis Septet and Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra – joins The KCJO as we feature our world-class trombone section in an evening of swinging big band music when the T-Bones will sizzle!
“Christmas with Kelley Hunt”
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 – 7 PM (early show) in Helzberg Hall
Gifted singer/songwriter Kelley Hunt will infuse her blues, American roots and Gospel music style with The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra for a heartfelt Christmas celebration that will appeal to audiences of all ages.
“Deborah Brown sings The Great American Songbook”
Friday, September 20, 2013 – 8 PM in Helzberg Hall
Kansas City native – and internationally-acclaimed jazz singer – Deborah Brown has performed in 50 countries throughout the world. This will be an unforgettable evening of sophisticated interpretations of songs written by the masters of popular American music.
The Four Freshmen & The Big Band Friday, May 3, 2013 – 8PM in Helzberg Hall The legendary vocal ensemble – that began in 1948 – continues with the currect youthful quartet who've been thrilling audiences since 2001!
The Four Freshmen
10th Anniversary Season Gala Thursday, April 4, 2013 – 7:30 PM in Muriel Kauffman Theatre In celebration of our 10th Anniversary Season, The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra is paying tribute to an event that changed the course of American popular music – Benny Goodman's historic 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert. Please join us as Ken Peplowski, internationally-acclaimed clarinetist and master interpreter of Mr. Goodman's music, teams up with The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra in performing original arrangements from that legendary night.
Randy Brecker, Trumpet Summit Friday, March 15, 2013 – 8PM in Helzberg Hall Trumpet and Flugelhorn master, Randy Brecker, joins the KCJO for a scintillating concert of big band jazz at its finest!
Christmas at the Kauffman with Karrin Allyson
Friday, December 21, 2012 - 8PM in Helzberg Hall Karrin rose to international attention in the 1990s while singing in Kansas City's jazz clubs. The Grammy-nominated vocalist makes her Kauffman Center debut with many of her old friends in The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra. Expect an evening of heartfelt sophistication.
Tribute to the Count Basie Orchestra September 14, 2012 - 8PM in Helzberg Hall Featuring Kansas City's sensational vocalist, Kevin Mahogany. It doesn't get any more Kansas City Jazz than this!
PBT and the Big Band May 18, 2012, 8:00 p.m. at Unity on the Plaza PBT Trio: One of KC's hottest groups never played with a big band... 'til now. Paul Smith and Bob Bowman reunite with drummer Todd Strait- and add vocalist Megan Birdsall.
Bobby Watson's Gates BBQ Suite March 30, 2012, 8:00 p.m. at Unity on the Plaza It's the new KC jazz suite with rave reviews. We'll be the first professional big band to swing it. Composer and sax great Bobby Watson will be on hand.
Christmas with Kevin Mahogany December 9, 2011, 8:00 p.m.at Unity on the Plaza Kansas City's favorite jazz son- vocalist Kevin Mahogany- returns to town to celebrate Christmas yuletide with the Orchestra... and you!
A Tribute to Gerry Mulligan October 14, 2011, 8:00 p.m. at Unity on the Plaza Known for his cool baritone sax, Mulligan was also a noted big band arranger. His bassist and drummer- Ron Vincent and Dean Johnson- join us to musically remember.
A Big Band Christmas Friday, December 10, 2010 Unity on the Plaza
It's an evening of exciting big band jazz arrangements of all the holiday favorites, from the orchestra made up of Kansas City's finest jazz musicians. Add guest vocalists Sherry Jones and Gabe Harris, and you can't find a more festive night of music.
Hot Latin Nights Friday, September 10, 2010 Performing Arts Center, KCKCC
The Orchestra will kick-off the season with a spicy-hot evening of Latin influenced jazz. The music of artists such as Tito Puente, Arturo Sandoval, Mongo Santa Maria, Carlos Santana, Paquito D'Rivera and Claudio Roditi will be featured. The Orchestra will be joined by Miquel DeLeon, a Latin percussionist and vocalist. This concert is guaranteed to be as fun to watch as it will be to listen to!
The Best of the Big Bands Saturday, January 9, 2010 Yardley Hall, JCCC
The Orchestra was the Saturday night featured performers during Johnson County Community College's Jazz Winterlude, which was a two-day jazz festival featuring local musicians. KCJO performed a variety of hits from legendary big bands such as Basie, Ellington, Kenton, Herman and Goodman. With Special GuestBrienn Perry.
Big Band Meets Hollywood Friday, September 25, 2009 Folly Theater
The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra kicked off the 2009-10 Season with a fun evening of songs made popular by movies and TV shows from the 40's through today. These memory-invoking tunes were arranged for a big band so that they would be easily recognizable and easy to enjoy! With guest vocalist Sherry Jones.