During the Jazz heyday of Kansas City in the 1930’s I would be looked at as such a square for not going to my first Jazz concert until I was 25. And quite frankly after spending Saturday night at the Blue Room I would have to agree. The Darryl White Quartet featuring saxophone legend Bobby Watson put on quite a show that really opened the eyes and ears of this Jazz rookie.
White and his quartet played it up for the modestly sized crowd with a set of covers, group member’s original content and one Bobby Watson original. Some of the songs they performed were so new to the group that White himself made light of the fact that they stopped play for a minute to read over the sheet music. The crowd didn’t seem to mind and actually seemed to appreciate the fact they were getting to experience previously unheard material for the first time.
“This is one my favorite places to play, right here at the Blue Room,” said White between songs. “The crowd and the people here are very knowledgeable.”
One particular audience member, who stuck out, was Chiefs General Manager Scott Pioli. Pioli who is an avid Jazz fan come to the Blue Room frequently for concerts and pointed out that he never tries to miss one of White’s shows in particular.
“We were having our team dinner today, and I was telling Romeo that we need to hurry up, I got somewhere to be,” said Pioli jokingly. “You are very lucky to be seeing Darryl, this guy is a genius. His rendition of “Lil I” was heartbreaking. He actually performed it last time he was here and he had his sons sitting in the front row. It was so touching I actually had to excuse myself.”
The quartet played for about 4 hours with a few small breaks. During one break several members of the group actually changed shirts because they had sweated through their original shirts. On a hot Saturday night the Darryl White Quartet kept it very cool in the Blue Room. Always a crowd favorite Watson’s breathtaking abilities on the saxophone seemed to take the audiences enthusiasm to the next level.
After spending Saturday at the Blue Room I definitely feel like I have been missing out on something special and the worst part is that the something special is right here in my own city of Kansas City. Greg Carroll, C.E.O of the American Jazz Museum, who was also in attendance, said it best.
“If you like what you saw here on 18th and Vine tonight at the Blue Room, wait until you see what we got lined up for Rhythm & Ribs in October.”
About Ty Rushing: Ty is a Communications-Journalism Major at UMKC. He is currently serving as a marketing intern at The American Jazz Museum and does concert reviews, feature stories and blog posts for their various sites.