May 2, 2014


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Charlie Parker Historical Tour 2016!


Get your tickets HERE to the Charlie Parker Historical Tour!  

We will leave the museum at 10:00am for a walking tour of the 18th and Vine area. 

  1. Lincoln Hall—Lincoln Hall occupied the third floor of the Lincoln Building, located on the south east corner of 18th and Vine. On Friday and Saturday nights, Lincoln High School students flocked to Lincoln Hall to socialize and dance to bands.  In July 1935, fourteen-year-old Charlie launched his career at Lincoln Hall with the Twelve Chords of Rhythm.  The Chords were non-union, but made good money playing for the door.
  1. El Capitan Club, 1610 E. 18th Street—Named after the Santa Fe Passenger Train, the El Capitan Club was a popular gathering spot for jazz fans. Charlie often played there when he was in town visiting his mother.   In 1952, Charlie played a two week engagement at the El Capitan that was so popular management added a matinee to accommodate the crowds.
  1. Ol’ Kentuck Bar B Q, 1516-18 East 19th Street—Located on the northwest corner of 19th and Vine, Ol’ Kentuck served up jazz along with spicy Bar B Q. In June 1940, Step Buddy Anderson introduced Charlie to Dizzy Gillespie in front of the Ol’ Kentuck.  They walked around the corner to Local 627, where they had a musical meeting of the minds.
  1. Local 627/Mutual Musicians Foundation, 1823 Highland—Established in 1917 by a small group of musicians and educators, Colored Musicians Local Number 627 grew to include 347 members by 1930. Having out grown their headquarters, union members raised money and bought the building at 1823 Highland.  Charlie joined Local 627 in October, 1935 for an engagement with George E. Lee at Paseo Hall.  Charlie remained a member until 1945, when he was suspended for nonpayment of dues, and transferred to the national union.
  1. Lucille’s, 1711 1-2 E. 18th—Gregarious and comely, Lucille Webb held court in her namesake club; greeting and schmoozing patrons while her husband S.D. ran the kitchen. In April 1938, Charlie joined alto saxophonist Buster Smith’s band for a regular engagement at Lucille’s.  Onstage, Smith mentored young Charlie, teaching him how to go in and out of key and play double time.  An eager student, Charlie could soon improve on anything that Smith played.

Please board the bus at the American Jazz Museum for part two of our study in ornithology.

  1. Paseo Hall—In March 1924, The Kansas City Call reported how Bennie Moten had leased the Paseo Dancing Academy, making it available for the first time to “colored people.” The spacious hall could accommodate 1,500 dancers.  Throughout the 1920’s and 1930’s, Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Lucky Millinder and other touring bands played Paseo Hall.  Visiting bands usually battled Bennie Moten, George E. Lee and other local bands.   They quickly learned that “Kansas City cats had sharp claws.”  On Halloween 1935, Charlie played Paseo Hall with the Chords of Rhythm under the leadership of George E. Lee.  On December 1935, Charlie and the Chords of Rhythm accompanied Chrystianna Buckner for a big Christmas dance at Paseo Hall.  The Chords disbanded shortly after the Christmas engagement.
  1. 1516 & 1535 Olive Street—After Addie split with Charles Senior, she and Charlie moved to a two story brick house at 1516 Olive. To help make ends meet, she rented rooms out to borders.  The Olive Street residence was situated midway between 12th and 18th  Addie worked nights and after she left for work, Charlie made his nightly rounds of the clubs on 12th and 18th Streets.  In 1943, Addie bought a more spacious home at 1535 Olive.
  1. Lincoln Cemetery – Annual Charlie Parker graveside celebration“21 Sax Salute

After Charlie’s death on March 12, 1955, Addie and his third wife Doris brought his body back to Kansas City, despite the objection of his fourth wife Chan.  Addie buried Charlie under a tree in Lincoln Cemetery, so he would be cool in the summer.   Addie rests next to Charlie.

Jazz dignitaries, musicians and fans gather annually on the last Saturday in August to celebrate the life of, and pay tribute to the great Charlie Parker and his influence on jazz.  The program is approximately 45 min., featuring guest speakers and ending with dozens of musicians jamming a few Parker songs in a style that only Kansas City can present!  You’ll be a part of this great KC tradition that is gaining in popularity each year.

Load bus after Parker Celebration and return to American Jazz Museum 

Tour Host:  Chuck Haddix – Director of UMKC Marr Sound Archives, host of KCUR 89.3 “Fish Fry” on Fri. and Sat. nights, author of “Bird – The Life and Music of Charlie Parker” and “Kansas City Jazz – From Ragtime to Bebop”.




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