‘Bird’ to fly again: After COVID cancellations, KC Jazz Orchestra announces new season

Dan Kelly
·2 min read

Perhaps the third time will be the charm for the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra’s tribute to local legend Charlie Parker.

Lea Petrie, executive director of the orchestra, announced a four-concert 2021-22 season Thursday, beginning with “Bird Lives” on Oct. 8. It had been scheduled to conclude the 2019-20 season last April in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Parker’s birth. But because of the pandemic, it was moved to be part of the 2020-21 season, which was canceled in its entirety.

“We couldn’t be more excited to return to the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts this coming fall as we bring the long-anticipated ‘Bird Lives’ to the stage,” Petrie said.

The rest of the 2021-22 season in Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center: “Hallelujah Holidays,” Dec. 7; “Just the Two of Us,” March 12; and “Roaring KC,” May 14.

The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra will return to Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts for four concerts in 2021-22 after the 2020-21 season was canceled.
The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra will return to Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts for four concerts in 2021-22 after the 2020-21 season was canceled.

“We are thrilled to be able to announce our return to Helzberg Hall for next season,” Petrie said. “We cannot wait to see our audiences enjoy the very best of Kansas City jazz.”

Season subscription renewals will begin May 10, with new subscriptions available June 21 and single tickets on sale Aug. 2. Contact 816-994-7222 or kcjo.org. Here are the details:

The music of jazz legend and Kansas City native Charlie Parker will be the focus of “Bird Lives” on Oct. 8.
The music of jazz legend and Kansas City native Charlie Parker will be the focus of “Bird Lives” on Oct. 8.

“Bird Lives,” 8 p.m. Oct. 8: Music from Parker’s most iconic album, “Charlie Parker With Strings”; with fellow saxophonists Jaleel Shaw, David Valdez and Bobby Watson.

“Hallelujah Holidays,” 7 p.m. Dec. 7: Celebrating the holidays with 1960s Soul Jazz, a combination of soul music, swing, bebop and rhythm and blues by the likes of Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin.

“Just the Two of Us,” 8 p.m. March 12: A fresh take on the contemporary jazz of Grover Washington and George Benson; with Grammy-winning saxophonist Kirk Whalum.

“Roaring KC,” 8 p.m. May 14: The 1920s and ’30s music of Jay McShann, Bennie Moten, Count Basie and others will pay homage to the days Boss Tom Pendergast; with vocalist Eboni Fondren.

Vocalist Eboni Fondren will join the orchestra for the season-ending “Roaring KC” on May 14.
Vocalist Eboni Fondren will join the orchestra for the season-ending “Roaring KC” on May 14.