July 6, 2019
If you’ve spent any time talking to me about jazz, undoubtedly you’ve heard me talk about what an amazing jazz community we have here in Kansas City. If anyone needed a more shining example, the events of the last week are the perfect encapsulation of what this community REALLY means.
Molly Hammer has been battling breast cancer for several years, and despite significant challenges, has kept performing. Her outstanding voice, irresistible personality and unwavering refusal to back down have made her a much-loved fixture of the Kansas City jazz scene. Things have been, well, impossible for her over the last several weeks. A series of cancer related setbacks have left her unable to continue performing. Here’s where the community comes in.
Back at the beginning of June, Alyssa Bell started a “Musicians for Molly” campaign, encouraging performers around the city to donate a small portion of their tips and band fees from each performance directly to Molly. That has helped, but a larger push was needed, so Alyssa, Clint Ashlock, Brad Gregory and myself sat down a week ago (literally a week ago today) to talk about what we could do. By the end of that day we had the concept down, a date, a venue, and list of bands to perform. By Tuesday we had all of the bands confirmed, sound, catering, and silent auction items coming in. THREE DAYS - it took just three days to organize an 8 hour event.
Not only did the event get organized in three days, almost everything is being 100% donated. The bands, the sound support, the auction items - free. The venue and the bar catering significantly discounted. Volunteers to help run everything the day of the event. Radio interviews scheduled. THIS is what community means to me, and why this particular community of people inspires me so much - all of the jazz musicians here know each other, work together, support each other like one huge crazy family. Sure, there’s some dysfunction sometimes, every big family has that - but when the chips are down like they are now - they lock arms and get shit DONE.
So here are the details:
Sunday, July 14
4pm to midnight
MOD Gallery, 1809 McGee, KCMO, 64108
$10 suggested donation at the door, more is always welcome
Silent auction 4pm to 7:30pm (must be present to claim winning bid, cash or credit, no checks please)
Bar catering by La Bodega
Emcee: Eboni Fondren
Sound: Ian Corbett
4:00pm: Boogaloo 7
4:45pm: Sons of Brasil
5:30pm: Brad Gregory Sextet feat. Kelley Gant
6:15pm: Kansas City Jazz Orchestra
7:00pm: Alyssa Murray
8:00pm: For Now
9:15pm: Project H
10:00pm: Deshtet featuring Kadesh Flow
10:45pm: Jam Session with host Mark Lowrey
And here I need to give a shout out to a couple of people outside the KC jazz community, too. I had already booked a band from Texas for July 14 at MOD as part of the Take Five Music Productions series. Months ago. When Clint, Alyssa, Brad and I sat down a week ago, it was clear the 14th was the only date that was going to work.
I want to personally thank MOD Gallery and Brian Ousley for turning a three hour commitment into a 10 hour one without really batting an eyelash.
I want to personally thank For Now and Isabel Crespo (www.fornowproject.com) for immediately and wholeheartedly agreeing to adjust their performance to become part of this larger effort, for being honorary members of the KC jazz community on July 14th.
How can you help support this effort? Come to the event! It’s going to be amazing. If you can’t be there, we’ll be establishing a GoFundMe campaign for Molly in the coming days. Other ways to get involved:
Ask your favorite businesses to donate a gift card. We’re taking an unlimited amount of gift cards for the silent auction.
Donate something of value to the silent auction - sports tickets, art, a weekend getaway at your lake house, vintage vinyl - contact Lori Chandler at email@example.com if you’d like to participate in this way
Volunteer at the event - we need people to man the silent auction, help take cover charge, ID and wristband attendees, and clean up crew.
Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for the support we’ve already received. Let’s show everyone what community REALLY means on July 14th.