Press Releases


Kansas City Jazz ALIVE to Receive $10,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

Kansas City, MO—Kansas City Jazz A.L.I.V.E. is pleased to announce it has been approved by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for a Grants for Arts Projects award of $10,000. This grant will support Spotlight: Charlie Parker, an annual Kansas City-wide celebration of the life and music of Kansas City’s native son, Charlie “Bird” Parker, held in August. In total, the NEA will award 1,135 Grants for Arts Projects awards totaling more than $37 million as part of its second round of fiscal year 2024 grants. 

“Projects like Kansas City Jazz Alive’s Spotlight: Charlie Parker celebration exemplify the creativity and care with which communities are telling their stories, creating connection, and responding to challenges and opportunities in their communities—all through the arts,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “So many aspects of our communities such as cultural vitality, health and wellbeing, infrastructure, and the economy are advanced and improved through investments in art and design, and the National Endowment for the Arts is committed to ensuring people across the country benefit.”

Christopher Burnett, President of the KC Jazz ALIVE board of directors, said, “Charlie Parker changed the field of jazz music forever, rhythmically and harmonically. Jazz musicians today look to Bird’s skill and innovation as a moment whose ripples continue to influence what they do on stage every time. Jazz ALIVE’s founders recognized the importance of Bird back in 2013 when they started the August celebration in Kansas City, and we continue to celebrate today in the city where Bird was born and raised. We look forward to honoring his memory, and our gratitude goes out to the National Endowment for the Arts and to our newest partner in 2024, the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra, for supporting this unique festival, by KC and for KC.”

Kansas City Jazz ALIVE and its Spotlight: Charlie Parker Initiative serves five subgroups within the Kansas City jazz sector base, including artists, students, educations, venue owners and enthusiasts. The primary purpose of the initiative is to 

  • Celebrate the genius of Charlie “Yardbird” Parker and the current generation of musicians through education and performance related events.
  • Increase Awareness of Kansas City and its vibrant jazz scene
  • Support venue owners by driving audience business traffic to performances through focused marketing and strategic promotions
  • Drive tangible economic impact to benefit Kansas City, our artists and our venues
  • Build collaborative partnerships across the world
  • Support the jazz education of young musicians through applicable programming.

Supporting and elevating Jazz all year in the greater KC community aligns with the five pillars of our mission — Awareness, Listening, Ideas, Voice, and Exposure while being a nonaffiliated catalyst organization. Since 2014 KC Jazz ALIVE has been supporting artists, enthusiasts, and venue owners by raising the tides that lift all Jazz boats and increasing tangible engagement with the American Jazz aesthetic. As a catalyst organization, KC Jazz ALIVE builds Awareness of Kansas City’s vibrant Jazz scene. KC Jazz ALIVE is happily motivated to provide expanded promotion and publicity with an international reach for the KC’s annual Spotlight: Charlie Parker celebration.

For more information on other projects included in the NEA’s grant announcement, visit


Spotlight: Charlie Parker – 11th Annual Celebration – Save the date

Kansas City, MO – Save the Date: Spotlight: Charlie Parker 2024 celebrates the jazz icon’s 104th birthday with jam sessions and musical tributes, tours, lectures, exhibits, panel discussions, workshops, and concerts. The annual program was developed to honor Parker (also known as “Bird”), his legacy, and impact on jazz in Kansas City and worldwide. The event also provides educational opportunities and promotes the music of local Kansas City jazz artists who will perform at select events/venues during the month.

The month-long celebration will take place in August 2024 at various locations, including The Folly, KC Public Library, 18th & Vine Jazz District, and KC Jazz clubs.

Highlighting this year’s Spotlight: Charlie Parker will be a new partnership with the  Kansas City Jazz Orchestra and a performance August 24th at the Folly Theater. 

As in prior years, KC Jazz ALIVE, the coordinating organization, has again partnered with KC jazz venues and leading jazz organizations for events and performances. Select events will be open to the public, while others require tickets/reservation. For information about event details as they become available, visit:

“We are excited for this new strategic partnership with KCJO and for Kansas City. We look forward to working together to create a memorable and impactful event, for KC and by KC, to celebrate Bird’s legacy and his significance in today’s jazz scene” said B.J. Jansen, Chair of Spotlight: Charlie Parker and Kansas City Jazz Alive, Vice President. 

Highlights as of May 2024 (more events and details to be added please continue to check the website as mentioned above):

  • June 22nd, 2024 – 12pm: Table Sponsorship at Lee’s Summit Jazz Festival (210 SW Market St
  • Lee’s Summit, MO) -> Website
  • July 17th, 2024 – 6:30pm: Vivid Vision Panel at Westport Coffeehouse Theater (4010 Pennsylvania Ave, Kansas City, MO 64111) -> Eventbrite
    • Topic: The KC Jazz Sound; What it is, Why it’s important to Kansas City Culture
    • Panelists: Chuck Haddix, Clint Ashlock with Moderator, Steve Kraske
  • August 4th, 2024 – 10am: Opening Brunch at the Phoenix, featuring Millie Edwards (302 W 8th St, Kansas City, MO 64105) -> Website
  • August 15th, 2024 – 5pm: KCJA and KC Bier Co Celebrate Bird, featuring Lucy and Bram Wijnands + Kadesh Flow (310 W 79th St, Kansas City, MO 64114) -> Website
  • August 17th, 2024 – 3pm: Bird Salute at Charlie Parker Monument 18th and Vine (Off 18th St, Kansas City, MO 64106)
  • August 20th, 2024 – 5:30pm: Bird Celebration Vivid Vision Panel at KC Public Library (14 West 10th Street Kansas City, MO 64105) -> Eventbrite
    • Topic: Bird Lives: Charlie Parker’s Lasting Impact on Music
    • Panelists: Carl Allen, Carolyn Brewer, Houston Smith with Moderator, Steve Kraske
  • August 24th, 2024 – 10am: 18th and Vine Charlie Parker Historic Walking Tour (1616 East 18th Street Kansas City, MO 64108) -> Eventbrite
    • Tour Guides: Geri Sanders and Chuck Haddix
  • August 24th, 2024 – 7pm: Spotlight: Charlie Parker Celebration Concert with Kansas City Jazz Orchestra at the Folly Theater (300 W 12th St, Kansas City, MO 64105) -> Website
    • Chuck Haddix, Emcee
    • Clint Ashlock, Artistic Director of KCJO

About Charlie “Yardbird” Parker: Charles Parker is a trademark of the Estate of Charles C. Parker, Jr. Parker was born in 1920 in Kansas City, Kansas, and in 1927 moved to Kansas City, Mo., where jazz was flourishing. KCMO was one of several spots instrumental in ushering in the musical improvisation style of Bebop, for which Parker is identified. ->

About The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra: The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra (KCJO) is one of the nation’s preeminent big bands, performing familiar favorites, artful arrangements, and contemporary compositions, making them a dynamic force locally and abroad. A proud representative of Kansas City’s jazz tradition, the ensemble currently boasts a Signature Series at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and the Folly Theater, Riff Generation, and an ever-growing education program, JazzWorks. ->

About KC Jazz ALIVE: KC Jazz ALIVE has a mission to build AWARENESS, serve as a LISTENING body, provide a platform for integrating IDEAS, function as a VOICE, provide EXPOSURE to resources, and unite the Kansas City jazz community. As a catalyst organization supporting artists, enthusiasts, and venue owners, we strive to “raise the tide that lifts all jazz boats.” ->

We’d also like to thank the following Sponsors (as of May 15th, 2024) for making this event possible: Neighborhood Tourism Development Fund (NTDF), Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts. Support for this project is provided by the Metzler Initiative at the Folly Theater. Additional support secured after the press date will be included on the Spotlight website. 

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