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1823 Highland Ave

Pete Johnson and Dave E. Dexter, Jr.
immortalized Local 627 in their 1940 song The 627 Stomp.
You can hear it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hBOJc1Cpgo#at=19

The Mutual Musicians Foundation remains a center for the development of jazz, particularly the "Kansas City Style," one of America's distinctive art forms. Originally constructed in 1904 as an apartment flat, the building was purchased as a headquarters in 1928 by the former all-black Musicians Union Local 627.

Local 627
Musicians Local 627. The photo was taken in 1930

Many of the nation's leading jazz performers have been members of Local 627 and/or the Foundation. These include band leaders Bill "Count" Basie, Bennie Moten, Jay McShann and George F. Lee; singer Julia Lee; trumpeter "Hot Lips" Page; tenor saxophonists Dick Wilson, Hershel Evans and Lester Young; alto saxophonist Charlie "Bird" Parker; drummer Baby Lovett; and pianist Pete Johnson.

The building and Local 627 are immortalized in the song "627 Stomp," an original boogie-woogie tune by jazz greats Pete Johnson and Big Joe Turner.

Kansas City in the 1920s and 1930s became the western center of American jazz. The art form was simultaneously being perfected in New York City, New Orleans and Chicago. During the regime of political boss Thomas J. Pendergast, nightlife flourished in Kansas City during and after Prohibition. Large bands formed throughout the region and gravitated towards Kansas City, where nightclubs and dance spots remained open around-the-clock. The most famous clubs were the Reno, the Subway, the Sunset and the ballrooms El Paseo and El Torreon. The clubs nurtured jam-sessions, a Kansas City specialty, and jazzmen vied in contests of virtuosity.

Today the union's building has become
the Mutual Musicians Foundation

To find out more about Johnson and Dexter and other KC jazz greats, go to: http://www.umkc.edu/orgs/kcjazz/jazznote/0bytes.htm


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