Mutual Musicians Foundation set for centennial

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The centennial celebration is starting early for a foundation that continues to host late-night jam sessions, nearly 100 years after it was founded as a segregated union for black musicians.

The Kansas City Star reports that the centennial isn’t until 2017 for the Mutual Musicians Foundation in the 18th and Vine Jazz District in Kansas City. But the foundation, whose building is a National Historic Landmark, will begin marking the occasion next year with a series of events.

Foundation vice president Anita Dixon said the purpose of the three-year roll out is to showcase Kansas City “as an international Mecca for jazz enthusiasts.”

Once known as Local 627 of the Musicians Protective Union, the organization’s founding members invented what came to become the Kansas City jazz style in the 1920s and 1930s.

Next year, the foundation will invite 10 bloggers widely known in the jazz world to come to Kansas City and write about the history of the music and the 18th and Vine area.

Conferences on jazz and the city’s role in its development are set for 2015 and 2016 in partnership with the Historic Kansas City Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution, with a week-long celebration closing out the event in 2017.

When not hosting the late-night sessions, the foundation serves as a practice space for experienced artists and students alike. On many days it’s a meeting ground for some of the elder statesmen of K.C. jazz.

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