by Kelly Rogge
Jazz music will be the focus as dozens of students arrive on the Kansas City Kansas Community College campus for the 2015 Kansas City Jazz Summit.
The summit is 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 22, 23 and 24 in the KCKCC Performing Arts Center, 7250 State Ave. The event, which is produced by the Kansas City Jazz Alliance, is free and open to the public.
“We try to offer the best performance experience with world class adjudication,” said Jim Mair, associate professor of music at KCKCC. “The PAC stage is set up like a NYC loft with great lighting, sound and an impressive stage. The judges are some of the best anywhere, and the festival prides itself for running on time and covering the extra details.”
The Jazz Summit caters to jazz groups at the middle school, high school and college level in both competitive and non-competitive sessions. It is a collaborative effort between the KCKCC Music Department, Audio Engineering department, Theater and the Intercultural Center. Awards are given for outstanding soloists, woodwinds, brass and rhythm section performers.
There are three levels of participation. These include:
• Jazz Summit. A non-competitive group where jazz groups perform for adjudicators. No winners are named, but outstanding groups and soloists are recognized. Groups that participate in this category receive a plaque or trophy.
• Kansas City Jazz Heritage – “Basically Basie.” This is a competitive category on Thursday of the Jazz Summit. Groups are required to pick three songs from an established list of Count Basie repertoire. These selections must have been recorded by the Count Basie Orchestra. Judging is based on the authenticity and attention to detail. The top two groups will compete for audience voting, which is done by text message. The winning group receives a traveling plaque. Roosevelt High School, from Sioux Falls, S.D. won the competition last year.
• Jazz Tyro. This is specifically designed for younger bands with little experience. Those that participate receive positive comments as well as a clinic following their performance.
Each day, 18 groups from as far away as Canada, Oklahoma and South Dakota will be performing. Local schools attending the Jazz Summit include Wyandotte High School, Harmon, Sumner Academy of Arts and Sciences, Schlagle, Basehor-Linwood, Tonganoxie, Blue Valley Northwest, Olathe South, Olathe Northwest, Shawnee Mission North, Ottawa University and Washburn University. The KCKCC Standard Jazz Choir will perform at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.
“This is a one of a kind festival that celebrates jazz of all kinds, but in particular the music of Count Basie,” Mair said. “The Basically Basie competition has grown from three groups to 15 groups since its inception.”
For complete schedules for all three days of the event, visit www.kansascityjazz.org/kansascityjazzsummit.html. For more information or for questions, contact Jim Mair at email@example.com or by phone at 913-288-7503.
Kelly Rogge is the public information supervisor for KCKCC.