Jazz & Blues, Kansas City
Located at the historic 18th & Vine neighborhood in downtown Kansas City....the Blue Room is a smoke-free, acoustic friendly club....We saw the McFadden Brothers, originally from this part of the city and have been all over the world, performing their variety act; a mix of singing, jamming, tapdancing, and making everyone laugh out loud. It was an act I would see again and certainly take people to see. As impressive as the two brothers were, they were equaled in entertainment level by the daughter of Lonnie McFadden.
Dress Code: Dress code was casual. If you are ordering drinks, expect to stand in line, they only had 2 coctail waitresses for the whole place. Save yourself a litte time and just order your drinks from the bar.
The Blue Room is a world-class club attached to the Jazz Museum at 18th & Vine. Historic photos line the walls, and there's not a bad seat in the house. And a no-smoking policy - in order to preserve the numerous historic artefacts. A good place to listen to local as well as national players.
If you are looking to see Kansas City back in the day when Charlie Parker roamed the streets looking for a jazz fix, stop by the Blue Room. Although the original Blue Room, where the Bird blew saxophone is long gone, this jazz joint is a fine replica of a 1930s club. Located in the historic 18th and Vine district, it is a bit of a museum, with pictures of greats covering the walls and relics of Kansas City's jazz era adorning the tables. Live music still gets the place swinging four nights a week. No food is available and smoking is not allowed, but a full bar is available.
There's always something going on at the Grand Emporium, often a band in the late afternoon followed by another group in the evening. This is one of KC's hottest spots, and has twice been honored as the "Best Blues Club in America" by The Blues Foundation.
You may also hear reggae, rock, zydeco, swing, and jazz. Check their web site for artist information. If you're in town, you will also find that information in the Friday issue of the Kansas City Star.
Dress Code: Casual
This place is famous the world around for it's blues. 7 days a week they provide a forum for both local and national acts to perform before a hungry crowd. Genres included are "blues, reggae, rock, zydeco, jazz and swing." My dad, who is big into blues, loves this place and swears it's the best place anywhere.
See the website for their schedule.
The Blue Room was right in the middle of where it was all happening back in those wild days of the 30's - when the music went all night and into the morning. Since its opening in 1997, it has become a jazz museum by day, and a working jazz club by night. Smoking is prohibited in order to preserve precious artifacts, but drinks are served at the bar. Open Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Check for times. Admission $5
The Grand Emporium is what the House of Blues wants to be - great music played in a great setting. The place isn't classy, but this is blues music we're talking about. And be sure to grab something to eat from Amazing Grace's BBQ, which is attached to the club.
Blues music, BBQ, a cold beer and a group of friends. I already know if I move away from Kansas City I'm going to miss this place.
Dress Code: It's a blues house.
They serve barbeque.
Who's worried about how you look?
Old-timers living in the vicinity remember when the Gem Theatre was one of the few places where black youngsters could see their movie cowboy favorites such as Tom Mix and Hopalong Cassiday. The Gem was a social gathering place for blacks in a then-segregated US. After integration and the influx of bigger cinema houses, the Gem fell on hard times. It has now been brought back to life, and plays host to black film festivals, a jazz concert series, and other special events. Schedule of events available through the American Jazz Museum.
Ever since the 1930's, Kansas City has been known for its jazz musicians, from Benny Moten, Count Basie, and Charlie Parker to present day greats such as Pat Metheny, Kevin Mahogany, Claude "Fiddler" Williams, Brody Buster, Karyn Allison, and many more. While the number of clubs offering jazz has dwindled some through the years, you can still find some great music in the inimitable Kansas City style. Check the Kansas City Star newspaper for who is appearing where.
Some of the clubs and restaurants featuring jazz are: Jardine's; The Club at Plaza III Steakhouse; Cafe Paris; The Phoenix; The Blue Room; Majestic Steak House; and more. On weekend afternoons during warm weather, you can hear groups performing free at different locations on the Country Club Plaza.
The Blue Room Jazz Club
1600 E. 18th St., K.C., Mo. A swinging jazz nightclub exhibiting authentic artifacts and featuring KC’s finest live jazz entertainment on Mon., Thur., Fri. and Sat. evenings. Smoke free. (816) 474-2929 H
This club was built to resemble a 1930's club that was once the hottest spot in Kansas City. It is part of the American Jazz Museum - which is a really interesting museum and I suggest you see it as well and stick around the performers.