This spring, the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra launched a new ensemble, Riff Generation. The ten-piece ensemble creates new jazz compositions all while remaining deeply engrained in Kansas City’s riff-based improvisational tradition.
The development of jazz music’s early foundation was greatly defined by Kansas City’s stylistic contributions to the genre. Popular songs like “In The Mood” and “Shake, Rattle, and Roll” were largely written in the riff-based style that emerged from Kansas City, and the city’s “jam session” cultivation of the music still lives in clubs and basements around the world.
Through the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra’s platform, we wish to shine a brighter light on this essential component of jazz, and Kansas City’s fundamental place in music history. We will add a stand-alone performance series of new, highly collaborative compositions in a modern examination of the Kansas City “riff style.”
Three concerts are planned to introduce this new series in the spring of 2022 and will be in addition to our mainstage series at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Concerts are scheduled for Friday, May 20, 2022 and Friday, June 24, 2022 at Plexpod Westport Commons in the Medallion Theater.
The origin of jazz lies in another great Black American art form: the blues. But the relationship that Kansas City jazz has with the blues is unique, maintaining a strong association throughout the past century.…