American Jazz Museum | Midwest Living

American Jazz Museum

1616 E 18th St
Kansas City  Missouri  64108
United States
(816) 474-8463

Midwest Living Review

This museum offers an incomplete but informative examination of an American art form, with a focus on Kansas City's jazz musicians.

Like the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, with which it shares a building, the American Jazz Museum may be more appreciated by visitors with a working knowledge of the musical genre than by novices. There's a lot of information to augment the instruments and other artifacts on exhibit, but the museum leaves some notable names out of its coverage, too--there's no mention of, say, Sarah Vaughan, among others. You will find most of the greats, however, like Ella, Louis and Thelonious, and local legends such as Charlie Parker, who grew up down the street, get their due and then some. (One of Parker's famous plastic saxophones is on site.) The museum is family-friendly, of course, but unless they're musical prodigies, kids may not get so much out of it. The high point is a reconstruction of the Blue Room, one of the great jazz spots in K.C.'s history. This new version is a working nightclub with live jazz four nights a week. Across the street, the Gem Theatre also offers live performances. Parking is available on 18th Street and Buck O'Neil Way, or in public lots within a block. Adult tickets are $8; kids' are $3. Tickets can be bought in conjunction with those to the baseball museum--in that case, it's $10 for adults, $5 for kids. The museum is closed Mondays.

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