The Mutual Musicians Foundation in Kansas City will celebrate its 105th anniversary on April 30, International Jazz Day, with an open house as well as jam sessions and the relaunch of KOJH, the foundation’s community radio station.
Kansas City’s Local 627, which was the African-American Musicians Union, was founded in 1917 and became known as the Mutual Musicians Foundation. Among its early members were legendary jazz figures such as Charlie Parker, Bennie Moten, and Jay McShann. The Foundation was featured in Bruce Ricker’s 1979 film The Last of the Blue Devils. Its building still stands in the city’s historic 18th and Vine District and is a National Historic Landmark as well as listed on the Kansas City Landmarks Commission Register.
The Mutual Musicians Foundation serves as a living museum, preserving and developing the city’s jazz legacy. Since 1930 musicians have gathered there on Friday and Saturday nights for late-night jams. The Foundation also serves as a rehearsal space for members and a classroom for visiting students.
The Foundation’s website won’t be relaunched until April 30, but you can sign up for their newsletter here.