Photo taken by Mike Raymond’s Northland Sky Cam at Theis Park


The 4th Annual Charlie Parker Celebration is well underway and we are having a blast!  Artists in Residence, Tivon Pennicott & Sullivan Fortner, are full of energy and excited for what the rest of the Charlie Parker Celebration has in store! This weekend was jam packed with great events!  Here’s a recap if you missed any of it:

Saturday, August 19, had us totally jazzed.  KC Jazz Ambassador’s BBQ put on a terrific show.  Bryan Hicks’, Karla Bauer, Elder Statesmen and Youth Jazz All-Stars had great energy!  The “We Remember Bird” panel was especially thoughtful with the musician comments, “We pray with our music.”  Thanks to all the KC Jazz Ambassadors and to Pam Hider-Johnson, Jon McGraw and Greg Carroll for organizing.

Jeff Robinson finally got the attention he is due from a full Orion Room crowd at Green Lady Lounge for his one man play, Live Bird.  He presents all facets of Charlie Parker’s life in a way that helps you authentically understand the complexity and beauty of what Bird created with the problems along the way.  Thanks Jeff and to John for bringing him back.

Ryan Heinlein and his large band, Project H, was eloquent in the sophisticated performance at Black Dolphin and Sullivan absolutely smoked two numbers on the Steinway.  The solid audience completely attentive and very appreciative of the class new venue and band.  Thanks Ryan, John and Isaac.

Chris Hazelton filled the Orion Room (downstairs of Green Lady Lounge) at full capacity before the show even started!  Even more impressive, was the enthusiasm of the audience for the bands performance and Tivon.  From front to back, they were all excited and engaged because of the Charlie Parker Celebration.  Thanks Chris, John and Isaac.

Steve Martin dialed the energy up even more upstairs, if that’s even possible!  There were more than 8 rows of standing people, riveted to the stage.  You had to be there to feel it, it was was absolutely amazing.  The side row was almost all musicians glued to the stage and showing their appreciation to Tivon & Sullivan who were on fire along with the band.  Thanks, Steve, John & Isaac.

Isaac deserves a special bow for handling the huge crowds and showcasing the 4th annual Charlie Parker Celebration so well.

Photo taken by Mike Raymond’s Northland Sky Cam at Ironwoods Park


Sunday August 20, we started with Millie Edwards at the popular Sunday Jazz Brunch at The Phoenix.  Millie had been extolling the virtues of Sullivan & Tivon and the Charlie Parker Celebration for an hour before we showed up.  The welcome was amazing and the brunch was bulging at the seams.  Total energy from Millie’s vocals and many duo numbers from Sullivan and Tivon.  Many thanks to Carisa and Millie.  It’s obvious why Millie was recruited to lead UMKC Jazz Friends.

Next, we headed south to the suburbs for our first ever “Meet the Musicians” event, organized by Macy Layne.  An early dinner where 50 people purchased tickets to dine with Sullivan, Tivon our evenings host, David Basse and Live Bird’s Jeff Robinson at the Lodge in Ironwoods Park.  It was a huge success that we plan to continue for years to come!  Lon Lane provided chicken (of course) and 18th & Vine Style meatloaf, which the audience loved!  Thanks to Macy, Lon and April Bishop of the City of Leawood.

Dinner was followed by an outdoor concert at Ironwoods Park where David Basse and his band showcased the sunset as part of the Leawood Park’s Outdoor Concert Series.  David’s band with Sullivan and Tivon provided really thoughtful engaging music.  It was a beautiful and relaxing evening to conclude the weekend.  Thanks to April and David!

Monday August 21, is a well-deserved day off for Tivon and Sullivan to enjoy the eclipse!  A student workshop was held at The Blue Room as part of the Charlie Parker Celebration’s educational series.  At 3pm, Elder Statesmen and KC Jazz Academy students convened for an important educational workshop.