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Book: Kansas City Jazz

Chapter: Harlan Leonard and His Rockets That Didn't Take Off

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.42628

Blurb:

The brand of jazz that developed in the Kansas City area in the period from the late 1920s to the late 1930s is recognised as both a distinct stylistic variation within the larger genre and a transitional stage between earlier forms of African-American music, such as ragtime and blues, and later, more modern forms, up to and including bebop. Kansas City's brand of jazz has been described as "the most straightforward and direct style which has been developed outside New Orleans," by Hughues PanassiƩ and Madeleine Gautier in their Dictionary of Jazz.


Kansas City jazz has inspired the creation of a museum and has been the subject of a feature-length film, Robert Altman's 1996 "Kansas City" and a sentimental rock song "Eternal Kansas City" by Van Morrison. For the first time this book summarizes the importance of Kansas City to the history of jazz, including profiles of individual musicians who developed very different styles within or beyond the framework of the sub-genre. Kansas City Jazz focuses on the broader themes and the stories of the major personalities whose individual talents came together to create the larger whole of Kansas City's distinctive brand of jazz.

Chapter Contributors

  • Con Chapman (conchapman@gmail.com - conchapman) 'Music writer'