KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Some say jazz was born in New Orleans, and it grew up in Kansas City. During the golden age, the Kansas City jazz scene was a thriving force. Under the rule of Mob Boss Tom Pendergast, the 1920s-1940s saw the 18th & Vine district alive with jazz and often called the “Paris of the Plains.” The area sparked the careers of music legends such as Count Basie, Big Joe Turner and Mary Lou Williams.
You’ve probably heard the name Charlie Parker, but did you know his childhood home still stands today? Charlie Parker earned his nickname “Yardbird” or “Bird” because of his fondness for eating chicken. His music featured fast tempos, new harmonies, complex melodies and longer solos. He and Dizzy Gillespie formed a quintet that featured this modern style of jazz called “Bebop.” Watch the video above to learn more about the legendary jazz musician and where you can see his childhood home.
For more on the 18th and Vine Jazz District, click here for the website.