Jazz and History

(20) Jazz in Kansas City 

Count Basie(1904-1984)

Illust. by HAL-e Fujita

From the end of 1920's, Jazz became awfully popular in Kansas City, Missouri. Even under the prohibition law, a corrupted politician, Democrat Tom Pendergust completely disregarded the law; in this way, State Government office or police became dysfunctional in Kansas City. Under the situation, people enjoyed gambling, going to nightclubs or cabarets and drinking at bars; thus it was quite reasonable that many people visited there. In Chicago, people went underground bar and listened Jazz played with hesitation; in contrast, everybody was very excited with Jazz played at loud in Kansas City. Pendergust was far more than a Mafia in Chicago.

Yet, when the prohibition, one of the worst laws, was discarded, Existence of Kansas City became less important.

At this point, Count Basie was a star by all means. Having left Bennie Morton's band in 1934, Basie organized his own band. By this time, enter of Jazz had already moved to New York, so Basie also marched into New York in 1937.

[translated by Mariko Ukawa]

HAL-e's Site

  Index       Previous Next