August 21, 2019 through May 15, 2020
Miller Nichols Library, Ground Floor | Link Gallery
Manhattan Records: ST-53021
Primarily recognized for her androgynous features and intense disposition, Grace Jones became a fixture in the New York City disco scene after signing to Island records in 1977. As her career progressed into the 1980s, her work took on new musical influences and embraced more provocative themes. Slave to the Rhythm is a concept album forming a loose biography around Jones’ career.
Warner Brothers Records: BSK 3209
George Clinton started out as a staff songwriter for Motown Records in the 1960s, eventually performing with his Doo Wop group, The Parliaments. In the 1970s, Clinton made his foray into funk with his sister acts Parliament and Funkadelic. What set these acts apart from contemporaries such as James Brown and Sly Stone was the overtly psychedelic nature of their songs and live shows, not to mention the superb album cover art of Pedro Bell.
Chess Records: CH 9184
Etta James Rocks The House was recorded live at the New Era Club in Nashville, TN in September 1963. Producer Ralph Bass wanted to capture a feeling that was virtually impossible to recreate in the studio, and could only be experienced through Etta’s intense and emotionally charged live performances.
Columbia Special Products: C 10261
Soul Sister was Aretha Franklin’s 8th studio album for Columbia records. While it may not be her most remarkable album, the cover perfectly encapsulates her image in secular music as Soul Sister just before her title was elevated to Queen of Soul during her long tenure with Atlantic Records.
Motown Records is widely considered to be the most prolific American record label to feature high-profile R&B acts, but Stax Records was able to produce its own, distinctive brand of southern soul straight out of Memphis, TN. From 1957-1968, Stax Studio touted recording acts such as Booker T. and the M.G.’s, Otis Redding, and Wilson Pickett under the distribution of Atlantic Records. Gold Soul was released in 1970.
Chrysalis Records: CHR 1192
Blondie may have emerged out of the NYC punk rock scene of the late 1970s, but their crossover appeal is what really cemented them as a successful pop act due to vocalist Debbie Harry. Their third studio album, Parallel Lines, captures some of the energy from their punk rock origins with tracks like Hanging on the Telephone. However, the breakout hit Heart of Glass with its thumping bass and 4 on the floor beat appealed to disco club-goers and casual listeners alike.
After spending years as a premier Atlantic recording artist, Ray Charles signed with ABC-Paramount in 1959. This afforded him some creative freedom to produce one of the most successful crossover albums during the American Civil Rights Movement. Modern Sounds volumes 1 & 2 feature Charles’ interpretation of country, folk, and western music hits of the era reworked in his signature R&B Style.
Sunflower Soul Records: SS-3001
Chris Hazelton’s Boogaloo 7 is one of the premiere funky jazz bands in Kansas City. Driven by Hazelton’s Hammond B-3 organ, the band is reminiscent of the giants of soul jazz from the 1960s and 1970s, such as Jimmy McGriff and Lonnie Smith. Their first full length album, Soul Jazz Fridays, was recorded live at the Green Lady Lounge in Kansas City, MO in October 2015, and released on Hazelton’s own record label, Sunflower Soul Records.
J. Bridge Records: 7544
Melvin Manning, Ernest Malone, Arthur Malone and Larry Brown, collectively known as Smoke, released their only full-length album in 1975. They garnered comparisons to The O.J.’s, The Spinners, and The Temptations with their Disco-tinged, Soul/Funk hybrid. This album is one of two releases on J. Bridge Records, which operated out of 1521 Prospect in Kansas City, MO.
Numero Group: 054
Cavern Sound Corporation out of Independence, MO was home to multiple subterranean recording studios at 16400 East Truman Rd. Cavern Sound was the recording destination for a slew of gospel groups, folk musicians, and high school choirs. In 2014, Numero Group compiled 24 tracks featuring young Midwestern garage and psychedelic bands anxious to put their names on the map.
RCA: LPM 1639
Blues singer, Jimmy Witherspoon, got his big break in 1944 when he auditioned for the Jay McShann Band. He got the job the same day and remained with the Jay McShann band until 1948. In 1957, ‘Spoon reunited with the band that gave him his professional start, reworking some classics and revisiting some classic McShann band tunes.
Leith Stevens got his start at the Horner Institute of Music in Kansas City and went on to graduate Julliard in 1930. He dedicated much of his life’s work to composing scores for films such as The Gene Krupa Story, Hell to Eternity, and The Wild One, among others. Destination Moon is perhaps his most experimental work.
Decca: DL 8044
Kansas City’s Local 627 is widely considered to be the cradle of Kansas City Jazz. Now known as the Mutual Musicians Foundation, the building is a national landmark and has hosted 100 years of Kansas City’s most influential jazz artists. This release by Decca Records celebrates the Local 627 and the artists that performed within its walls.
In 2005, a segment of the KC punk and hardcore scene felt that it was not getting the attention it wanted or deserved. The solution? Compile an album of the sickest bands in town, press it on vinyl, and share it with the world. Creepy Aliens guitarist Kevin Morby and Crap Corps. vocalist Anna St. Louis are currently touring the world with their respective brands of blues and country-tinged folk-rock.
WDAF Radio: KC 610
On March 28, 1965, WDAF Radio and Kansas City Jazz, Inc. threw an all-day Jazz Festival at Kansas City’s Municipal Auditorium. The concert featured performances by 26 acts, including the Raytown South High School Jazz band, The Frank Smith Trio, The Sammy Tucker Trio, Bettye Miller and Milt Abel, and the Count Basie Band.
Raymond Scott spent much of his early career as pianist, composer, and leader of the Raymond Scott Quintette as well as the bandleader for TV’s long-running program, Your Hit Parade. However, he is perhaps most renowned for his ventures into electronic music as an engineer and inventor of instruments. The Raymond Scott Collection was donated to the UMKC Libraries in 1993. The Manhattan Research, Inc. LP series contains original recordings, photos, and invention schematics from the collection.
Riverside: RLP 9353
On Goin’ to Kansas City, Saxophonist Tommy Gwaltney intended to pay tribute to K.C. Jazz by recreating notable tunes from artists who best represented the K.C. Style: Jay McShann, Count Basie, Bennie Moten, Mary Lou Williams, among others. Gwaltney’s band, The Kansas City Nine, included Basie Band alum Buck Clayton, whose personal collection is housed in LaBudde Special Collections and Marr Sound Archives.
Damon Records: D-12558
The Kansas City Choral Ensemble originated out of Friendship Baptist Church in Kansas City, MO in 1961 under the guidance of Director Aline Jefferson. After years of rendering their services to churches and institutions that requested their powerful performances, the group cut their first record in 1965 on Damon Records.
UMKC Accordion Orchestra: 45432
On April 20, 1986, the UMKC Accordion Orchestra celebrated 25 years of accordion orchestra programs at UMKC under the direction of its founder and director, Joan Cochran Summers. The concert was recorded for posterity and featured pieces by John Williams, Giuseppe Verdi, and Johann Strauss.
Def Jam Recordings: BFW 44303
Considered by many to be one of the most influential Hip-hop albums of all time, Public Enemy’s second studio album delivered powerful social commentary through Chuck D’s commanding voice, and high-energy rhythms with the Bomb Squads sample based production.
RCA: LSC- 3034
This 1859 opera by Giuseppe Verdi tells the story of the assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden in 1792 who was shot while attending a masked ball. In this recording, Leontyne Price plays the role of Amelia, a fictional character in a romantic relationship with the King. Price is one of the most popular American classical singers of her generation and the first African American to become a leading performer at the Metropolitan Opera.
Redbone is a Native American rock band best known for their 1974 hit single Come and Get Your Love. Inspired by Jimi Hendrix and Cajun culture, brothers Pat and Lolly Vegas formed the band in 1969 and released this self-titled album in 1970.
Colpix: CP 407
Known as the “High Priestess of Soul,” pianist and vocalist Nina Simone studied at Julliard and the Curtis Institute of Music before launching her professional career. Recorded in 1959, The Amazing Nina Simone established her career nationally.
Verve Records: MG V-8006
During the mid-1940s, Parker and Gillespie pioneered bebop, a revolution in jazz. The two were so close professionally and personally, that Gillespie referred to Parker as “the other half of my heartbeat.” This Verve LP captures them at the top of their game.
Capitol Records: T228
Pianist Julia Lee, one of Kansas City’s most popular performers, was known for singing risqué songs that “her mother taught her not to sing.” Kansas City native Dave Dexter signed Julia to Capitol Records and produced her biggest hits “Snatch and Grab It” and “King Size Papa.” Dave Dexter’s Collection is housed in LaBudde Special Collections and the Marr Sound Archives.
Recorded in 1959, Giant Steps was Coltrane’s debut as a leader on Atlantic records. Coltrane’s phrasing and unique approach to chord changes made Giant Steps one of the most influential recordings of all times.
Concord Jazz: CJ-258
Wife and husband, Jeannie and Jimmy Cheatham delighted audiences with their rollicking Kansas City style of blues. This disc includes their best-known composition “Meet Me With Your Black Drawers On.” Jeanne Cheatham’s Collection is housed in LaBudde Special Collections and the Marr Sound Archives.
Simba Records: 12794
Pianist Bettye & bassist Milt began their musical romance when they first met in 1953. For over twenty years, they entertained audiences in nightclubs in and around Kansas City. Bettye and Milt’s Collection is housed in LaBudde Special Collections.
The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady was the first jazz album to rely heavily on studio overdubbing to create sound textures not easily captured in a live performance. Released on Impulse! Records in 1963, the concept album on love and struggle was composed as a six part ballet with an 11 piece band.
Folkways Records: FD5530
Folkways Records was established in 1948 by Moses Asch, primarily focusing on American blues and folk music documented by researchers like Alan Lomax and Harry Smith and performed by the likes of Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, and Pete Seeger. To a lesser extent, the label captured numerous documentary records covering socio-political and racial strife of the 1960s.
Numero group’s 16th Eccentric Soul compilation celebrates Ellis Taylor’s Kansas City Funk/Soul/R& label imprint, Forte Records. The label’s output took off in 1969 when former James Brown entourage member, Marva Whitney, began recording with the label. Items from LaBudde Special Collections make an appearance in the double LP’s extensive liner notes.
Tejano accordionist Leonardo ‘Flaco’ Jimenez earned a Grammy in 1986 for Ay Te Ejo En San Antonio, a song written by his father and fellow conjunto musician Santiago Jimenez. Conjunto refers to small group ensembles in Mexican and Cuban musical traditions. Jimenez plays Conjunto Tejano, a sub-genre originating from south Texas that primarily consists of duet singing with accordion, bajo sexto, bass and drums.
Westport Records: 130
Westport Records was established in 1955 when Dave Ruf wanted to showcase the musical talent of his children and his brother’s children. Bobby, Davie, Christine, Betty, Hank, and Cathy Ruf formed hillbilly outfit The Westport Kids along with fiddle player Marvin Bredemeier. Westport Records showcased many Midwestern hillbilly, rockabilly, and country acts of the time, including Milt Dickey, Jimmy Dallas, and Alvis Wayne.
Tico: SLP 1172
Latin American percussionist Tito Puente gained acclaim for his Caribbean, Afro-Cuban rhythms, and Latin Jazz compositions during his decades-long career, earning the titles “El Rey de los Timbales” and the “King of Latin Music.” His list of collaborators include Celia Cruz, Dizzy Gillespie, and Sonny Stitt.
Infamous and internationally known female impersonator Rae Bourbon ended his illustrious career at Kansas City’s famed Jewel Box Lounge in the 1960s. He released a variety of recordings on 78 and LP, including this performance recorded around 1962.
Introduced in 1948, the long play (LP) record transformed the way we experienced recorded sound. Previous recorded formats played at 78 revolutions per minute and could only contain three to five minutes of audio. LPs, which play at 33 1/3 revolutions per minute, hold up to 22 minutes of audio per side, allowing listeners to enjoy extended musical performances uninterrupted. The increased capacity and microgroove technology of the LP ushered in the age of Hi-Fidelity, a revolution in recorded sound.
This exhibit displays a variety of records from the Marr Sound Archives to celebration their momentous 33 1/3 anniversary. Visit the exhibit to see the LPs up close and listen along to the tracks below!
Posted: August 23, 2019