Kansas City’s Top 10 Musicians

10. Appleseed Cast
Mind-melting music on par with Popol Vuh. Who’s Popol Vuh, you ask? Well, they did score most of Werner Herzog’s movies in the 1970s and 1980s, if that gives you any indication of their ethereal qualities.
9. Pat Metheny
Lee’s Summit’s very own, Metheny is a jazz-rock guru on the guitar.
8. Ida McBeth
Catch her on a given weekend at Jardines or the Blue Room. She’s a throwback to Kansas City’s finest hour.
7. Jimmy Rushing
Spent 13 years as Basie’s voice, and Basie only hired the best.
6. Joe Turner
Had a voice as big as his stature. And “Big Joe” was 6-foot and more than 300 pounds.
5. Bennie Moten
If Basie was the epitome of Kansas City Jazz, Moten was the beginning. In 1929, Moten recruited Basie, Walter Page and Oran “Hot Lips” Page to his Kansas City Orchestra. Others would soon be added, including Jimmy Rushing, Eddie Durham and Ben Webster. The sum: “Moten Swing.”
4. Jay McShann
My man. A bandleader, singer and masterful piano player, McShann built his jazz empire in Kansas City and stayed here until he died in December 2006.
3. Charlie Parker
Most would argue he deserves the top spot on this list. He doesn’t because of bebop, music as nerve-racking as a stack of dishes dropped down a stairwell.
2. Lester Young
The sweetest sax of all-time. His coo was cooler than the Bird’s. Especially when paired with Billie Holiday, his lover.
1. Count Basie
If there was a Mount Rushmore of jazz music, his mug would appear next to Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Scott Joplin. As a composer and bandleader of nearly 50 years, he directed some of the most awesome assemblies of musical artists ever.

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