KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Thousands of prospects and fans flying into Kansas City to attend the 2023 NFL Draft this week will experience KCI Airport’s new terminal for the first time.
They will also be treated to Kansas City jazz almost as soon as they step into the building.
Jazz musicians will be welcoming visitors who are picking up their bags at the new space. It’s a little bit of local culture as people come in for the NFL Draft – a nod of the head to Kansas City’s rich jazz history during a time of heavy foot-traffic.
For example – late Monday night – 2,000 passengers arrived right between 11:30 pm and midnight. That might be the highest volume of air passengers expected for people arriving for the NFL Draft in Kansas City.
On Tuesday, the session floats over the baggage claim – “The Eclipse Trio” greeting travelers’ ears ahead of the draft.
Artists including Bobby Watson, Ben Leifer, Stan Kessler, Roger Wilder, Eric Hitt, Everett Freeman, DeAndre Manning, and Michael Warren will pay tribute to the city’s rich jazz history.
“Well, today is a jazz day. We’re playing kind of soft jazz,” pianist Freeman said.
“You talk about Kansas City, you can’t escape it. It’s a part of the history,” bassist Manning said.
“The art of improvisation is an American artform, right? So here we are,” Manning said.
“You draw inspiration from everything around you. Your life. Colors,” drummer Warren said.
The new airport and the NFL Draft offer up some inspiration and opportunity for the musicians, too.
“Right now, it’s like empty. It’s stark. It’s shiny. It’s new. It’s sparkly,” Warren said.
“Right now, in Kansas City, there’s a lot of promotion for new clubs and a lot of people are playing that really didn’t always play before,” Freeman Jr. said.
“Well you know, sports is a great inspiration. Because – just take the Kansas City Chiefs. They’re a team. They have the star players and stuff, but it’s a team effort,” Manning said.
The live music will be performed April 25 through April 27 from 12 p.m. until 5 p.m. daily.
Kansas City’s new terminal opened just two months ago.