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Goin’ to Kansas City

It was like a scene out of The Godfather or Goldfinger, only it was on the storied corner of 18th and Vine. Representatives from no less than 16 Kansas City jazz organizations had gathered for a press conference in the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum on the last morning in August. On the small-scale infield, amid the life-size statues of nine “black ball” immortals, the participants took their turns at expressing frustration over the City’s lack of ability to capitalize on its two biggest drawing cards: jazz and barbecue.

Anita Dixon, director of the Cultural Conventions and Visitors Services, called the meeting. The array of jazz activism in the city is quite impressive. Not only are there the expected concert presentation and education entities, but there are groups that provide aid to musicians and their families. Dean Hampton’s Coda organization, for example, steps in when musicians and their spouses can’t afford to be buried. Dixon used the platform to call for ideas from the participants on how to bring tourists into Kansas City.

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