Jazz Festival

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Prairie Village JazzFest
Saturday, September 8, 2018 | 3:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
Harmon Park, 77th & Mission Road

The Prairie Village JazzFest brings thousands of people together to enjoy an evening of magical music, fabulous artistry, delectable food and drink, and fun! Critics have raved about our past festivals, and Prairie Village put itself on the map as the newest "destination jazz festival" in Kansas City.

2018 Festival Lineup!

3:00 – 3:40 -- Shawnee Mission East Blue Knights 

This band’s rich tradition includes being named a finalist in the Essentially Ellington Jazz Band Competition, with an invitation to perform in Lincoln Center. Directed by Alex Toepfer.

4:00 – 4:50 -- Victor & Penny 

Victor is Jeff Freling, once part of the Blue Man Group. Penny is Erin McGrane, who played opposite George Clooney in the movie “Up in the Air”. As Victor & Penny, with Jeff on guitar, Erin on ukulele and both singing, quirky songs with the flavor of pre-jazz pop conjure a feeling of 1920s innocence, but through lyrics that aren’t always quite so innocent. Doesn’t sound like jazz? Add the Loose Change Orchestra, with reeds virtuoso James Isaac, bassist Rick Willoughby and multi-instrumentalist Kyle Dahlquist, and you have what they describe as swing-infused folk-jazz. The way we’d put it: they’re a whole bunch of fun.

5:20 –6:10 -- Kessler-Embry Conspiracy

Few jazz musicians in Kansas City have established more bands than trumpeter Stan Kessler – he lists 15 of them on his web site. And these aren’t one-and-done ensembles. His group Sons of Brazil marked 27 years together in June. He’s performed with stars like Clark Terry and Bobby Watson. He has succeeded, in part, by recognizing what an audience wants to hear and performing it without compromising his art. In the Kessler/Embrey Conspiracy, he teams with Sons of Brazil bandmate and another anchor of Kansas City jazz, guitarist Danny Embrey.

6:30 – 7:20 -- The Enormous Guitar Project

Danny Embrey’s Enormous Guitar Project brings together five of Kansas City’s premier guitarists, playing arrangements where guitars rarely tread…like a Charlie Parker sax solo. Danny has toured the world. In the 1980s, he played with Sergio Mendes and Clare Fischer’s Latin Band. He performed before the King of Jordan and the Reagans in the East Room of the White House. Danny has performed and recorded with singer Karrin Allyson – he’s on eight of her albums – and Sons of Brazil. He’s a cornerstone of Kansas City jazz today.

7:40 – 8:40 -- Molly Hammer

“I’ve always been obsessed with female singers,” says vocalist Molly Hammer. “With Peggy Lee, Anita O’Day, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday.” She started in theater, starring in “Always Patsy Cline” – she played Patsy – for five years. The experience shows. Her interpretations of jazz standards and eclectic pop meld inspired sass with a theatrical flair and the tradition of her idols. Telling Molly’s story includes noting that she’s battling cancer for the second time. But when she takes the stage, she owns it, along with every tune she joyously sings. 

9:00 – 10:30 -- Logan Richardson Blues People 

Saxophonist Logan Richardson grew up in Kansas City, off 55th Street, attending Paseo Academy and Saturday jazz classes at the American Jazz Museum. Among his instructors was acclaimed saxophonist Ahmad Alaadeen. Richardson moved to New York in 2001 and then to Paris in 2009. “The quote from Charlie Parker,” he muses, “where he says, music is your life experiences; if you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn. They had that written in the halls of Paseo. It was one of the deepest things and it’s always stuck with me.” That attitude flows through Richardson’s music. His album “Shift” was recognized internationally as one of 2016’s jazz highlight. His latest album, “Blues People”, is grounded in his Kansas City roots while exploring less traditional jazz arenas.


Festival Information

Festival admission is $5 for adults and free for children under 18. Blankets and lawn chairs are welcome.

Please note that outside food and beverages are not allowed. Food and beverage will be available for purchase (cash only). We appreciate your consideration.

Dogs (excluding service animals) are not allowed inside festival grounds.

Free parking at Shawnee Mission East, Prairie Village Pool, Mission Bible Church, and Community of Christ Bible Church. ADA parking and drop off available at Prairie Village City Hall. View the parking map here.

Stage    Artists


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