In addition to the usual line up of fine local acts, the Blue Room is bringing in two special out-of-town guests in August.
On Saturday, August 11 the Bobby Watson Quartet will be joined by trumpeter Valery Ponomarev.
Ponomarev famously escaped what was then the Soviet Union in 1977 to play jazz. If that sounds like the story line of Moscow on the Hudson, you'd be right (and showing your age). Whether Ponomorov was indeed the inspiration for the movie, as is sometimes claimed, remains in doubt. What isn't in doubt is that since landing on these shores Ponomorev has gone on to have a distinguished career as a player, composer and author. Watson and Ponomarev both were members of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in the late 70s and early 80s when Watson was the group's Music Director.
It should be a fine show. As numerous Horizon albums demonstrate, Bobby Watson loves to work with trumpet players.
The Watson/Ponomorev show also serves as an occasion to feature the following performance of "Wheel Within a Wheel," recorded in 1980, in Antibes (the one in France). In addition to solos by both Watson and Ponomorev, it's remarkable for the presence of two pairs of brothers, one named Marsalis (Branford and Wynton), the other named Eubanks (Kevin and Robin). They've all done well for themselves in the time since. Presiding over the event is the circus master himself, Art Blakey, resplendent in a powder blue suit with matching cowboy hat. You just know everybody in Antibes wanted one.
In case you missed Dr Lonnie Smith's appearance at the Rhythm and Ribs Festival in June, he's coming back Thursday August 23rd. The good doctor was part of the troupe that Javon Jackson brought to the festival. This time he'll be bringing a classic organ jazz trio to the more intimate confines of the Blue Room. Smith has earned his "legend" status. For a demonstration of his chops, check out the following video of Dr Lonnie, drummer Yoron Israel & guitarist Mel Henderson working over Monk's Bemsha Swing.
Both shows are $20. See you on the Vine.
The Blue Room at the American Jazz Museum
1616 East 18th Street
Kansas City, MO 64108