by Kelly Rogge
The 4th annual Kansas City Jazz Summit at Kansas City Kansas Community College welcomed 54 bands and crowned a new winner of the Basically Basie competition.
The summit, which was April 23, 24 and 25 in the KCKCC Performing Arts Center, caters to jazz groups at the middle school, high school and college level in both competitive and non-competitive sessions. This includes bands, choirs and combos.
“Our students really brought their ‘A’ game as hosts, work crew and performers,” said Jim Mair, professor of music and director of instrumental studies at KCKCC. “The PAC looked amazing, like a New York City loft. We also had world class adjudication.”
There are three levels of participation at the Jazz Summit. 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.
• 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.
The winner of this year’s Basically Basie competition was Roosevelt High School from Sioux Falls, S.D. The last three years, Blue Valley Northwest has received the top prize. Local schools who attended the Jazz Summit include Piper, Basehor-Linwood, Turner, Lansing, Tonganoxie, Shawnee Mission East, Blue Valley Northwest, Olathe Northwest, Olathe North, Shawnee Mission Northwest and Johnson County Community College. The KCKCC Jazz Ensemble, KCKCC Jazz Combo and KCKCC Standard Jazz Choir also performed.
“That is by far the most educational jazz festival that I have ever attended,” said Jena McElwain, band director at Prairie Trail Middle School in Olathe. “Every aspect of the day was so smoothly run, so very professional, and completely all about music and jazz education.”
For more information about the Kansas City Jazz Summit, contact Jim Mair at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 913-288-7503.