Last night I had the pleasure of taking in Ida McBeth at The Blue Room, in Kansas City’s historic jazz area, 18th & Vine. This venue is a part of the American Jazz Museum, and is at the heart of what was, arguably, the beginnings of jazz music itself.
Stepping into the joint was like stepping back into the past, where your host greets you wearing a dapper fedora he’s worn for the last 50 years and escorts you to the best seat in the house. The variety of attendees in the intimate crowd was a testament to the continued vibrancy of the music that gave birth to what evolved into the current Top40 offerings, with young couples sitting at adjoining tables to older ladies in their Sunday finest. The downpour outside only served to make the atmosphere inside that much more intimate — the only thing to indicate we were not transported back into the 30s was the absence of a heavy cloud of smoke.
The band warmed up the crowd with a half hour of original compositions. Lady McBeth took the stage to an ovation from the crowd and demonstrated quite clearly why jazz is not dead. Her classically dynamic vocals traded off with each band member for the next few hours, and we left both energized and drained from the experience.