Cover for PEARSON: Goin' to Kansas City. Click for larger image

Goin' to Kansas City

Bennie, Basie, and Bird—the history and heyday of one of jazz's great stomping grounds

Kansas City jazz thrived on the anything-goes vibe of a town on the make and the talents of a generation of visionary artists. From titans like Charlie Parker and Count Basie to classic bands like the Blue Devils and the Clouds of Joy, the Paris of the Plains was home to a potent style of jazz music that bridged big bands and bebop in the 1920s and 1930s. Nathan W. Pearson Jr. threads eyewitness stories from musicians of the era into a narrative history of Kansas City's distinct jazz--and the corruption, organized crime, and vice that helped its players pay the bills. Throughout, Pearson reveals how the great bands of the era drew on many styles to create a distinctive music that was among the finest expressions of swing and laid the groundwork for modern jazz. A portrait of a community of artists and a jazz history that's both intimate and expansive, Goin' to Kansas City tells the story of how music remade a city into a mecca for performers and fans alike.

"A big juicy wedge of jazz history. Lots of wonderful stories."--Los Angeles Daily News

"A wealth of stories, a good measure of entertainment and a valuable stab at history--not to mention some great pictures."--Kansas City Star

Nathan W. Pearson Jr. was executive vice president and chief financial officer of Broadcasting Partners, Inc.

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