Following the March 24 stay-at-home order issued by city leaders to avoid the spread of COVID-19, service workers and those working in the “gig” economy saw their job incomes evaporate immediately.
In an effort to assist the performing artists and also pay homage to Jazz great Charlie Parker, the American Jazz Museum and the Blue Room, located in the Historic 18th and Vine District, sponsored a contest that provided a spotlight for local performers and some much-needed cash to assist with ongoing financial obligations during the forced shutdown.
“At a time when we need music for inspiration and salve, Charlie Parker reminds us of healing and vitality from his horn, and we are delighted to celebrate him and our own musicians by presenting the AJM Charlie Parker Song Contest winners,” said Jazz Museum Executive Director Rashida Phillips.
Artists submitted their entries to either of two categories: Original Bebop composition or new arrangement of a Charlie Parker song.
Judging for the contest was done by a panel of well-known and respected musicians in the Jazz community, including director of Jazz studies at UMKC Bobby Watson, who was highly complimentary of the high level of local talent.
“Kansas City has so many world-class artists who reside here, that it’s great to be able to provide an opportunity during these difficult times for them to be able to exercise and showcase their creative gifts by way of the Charlie Parker Song Contest,” Watson said.
Winners in the original composition category were: Roger Wilder, Max Levy, and Sean Murdy, respectively.
Winners in the best arrangement of a Charlie Parker Song category were in order of place, Andrew Ouellette, Paul Roberts, and Matt Villinger.
Funding for the competition was provided in part by the Metheny Foundation based in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, hometown of Grammy Award-winning guitarist Pat Metheny and his brother Mike Metheny.
Videos of the winning entries are available on the Blue Room at the American Jazz Museum’s Facebook page at TheBlueRoomKC.
Visit SoundCloud to hear all of the entries.