Kansas City Jazz and Heritage Festival > Performers


The multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning R&B/pop singer, songwriter, and actress, Brandy, has come roaring back with a fearless and inspired attitude. Born in to a musical family, the Mississippi-born daughter of Willie and Sonja Norwood, became one of the most successful multi-media stars of the ’90s, thanks to her constant presence on both the pop and R&B charts, her popular hit sitcom Moesha and the classic made-for-TV movie phenomenon Cinderella, which attracted more than 60 million viewers and broke new ground with its multi-cultural cast.

Ask her to describe her voice and she might say it feels like, sounds like, soul. But when it comes to defining the essence of music, itself, Lalah Hathaway can go on and on...

"Music is so textured and layered," she says, "and it is an absolute entity in my life. It's three-dimensional, it's tangible, and when I die, I'll say goodbye to it, just as I will to everyone standing around my bed."

In between album projects, Hathaway - who's recorded collaborations with Marcus Miller, Meshell Ndegéocello and Mary J. Blige, among them - keeps her creativity nourished by taking to the global stage and contributing her voice to Daughters of Soul, a musical mélange founded by comrade, Sandra St. Victor, and featuring Nona Hendryx, Joyce Kennedy as well as Indira and Simone, daughters of Chaka Khan and Nina Simone, respectively.

A DownBeat Hall of Famer and NEA Jazz Master, 22-time Grammy winner, and keyboard virtuoso, Chick Corea has attained living legend status after five decades of unparalleled creativity and an artistic output that is simply staggering. From straight ahead to avant-garde, bebop to fusion, children's songs to chamber music, along with some far-reaching forays into symphonic works, Chick has touched an astonishing number of musical bases in his illustrious career while maintaining a standard of excellence that is awe-inspiring. A tirelessly creative spirit, Chick continues to forge ahead, continually reinventing himself in the process.

In the talented hands of New York-based ensemble The Hot Sardines, music first made famous decades ago comes alive through their brassy horn arrangements, rollicking piano melodies, and vocals from a chanteuse who transports listeners to a different era with the mere lilt of her voice. On French Fries & Champagne, The Hot Sardines’ new album for Universal Music Classics, the jazz collective broadens its already impressive palette, combining covers and originals as they effortlessly channel New York speakeasies, Parisian cabarets and New Orleans jazz halls.

Possessor of a very distinctive sound and stylistic diversity, John Scofield is a masterful jazz improviser whose music generally falls somewhere between post-bop, funk edged jazz, and R & B. The Grammy-winning guitarist, composer and bandleader has allowed his musical eclecticism to be his guiding compass to explore a spectrum of idioms of genres, ranging from electric fusion to modern bop, from greasy R&B to drum-n-bass, and from rock to blues and gospel. So it comes as no surprise that Scofield would follow his 2015 Grammy-winning album, Past Present, by shifting gears with something like Country for Old Men.

Since the runaway success of her 1990 debut album Circle of One (which went Platinum), and the impassioned hit single “Get Here” (the Brenda Russell composition that became an unofficial anthem of the 1991 Gulf War) Oleta Adams has inspired a growing legion of fans in the U.S. and Europe with journeys of the heart via songs that draw deeply from her roots in gospel, while crossing effortlessly into the realms of soul, R&B, urban, and popular music. Her success, nurtured by worldwide tours with Tears for Fears, Phil Collins, Michael Bolton, and Luther Vandross, has been solidified by four Grammy nominations and a seemingly bottomless well of creative energy.

Born and, raised in Kansas City, Missouri, Logan Richardson was mentored by some of the finest figures in the history of improvised music, including Jay McShann, Claude "Fiddler" Williams, and Queen Bey. Logan has recently recorded his highly anticipated third album, SHIFT, with an elegantly matched band of artists, innovators, and including 20 time grammy winning guitarist, Pat Metheny; MacArthur genius grant recipient, and Artistic Director of Jazz at Kennedy Center, pianist, Jason Moran; the greatest living drummer, and son of master Freddie Waits, drummer Nasheet Waits; bassist of Ambrose Akinmusire's band, and innovator of the double bass, bassist Harish Raghavan.

Bobby Watson

For more than three decades now Watson has contributed consistently intelligent, sensitive and well-thought out music to the modern-day jazz lexicon. All told, Watson, the immensely talented and now-seasoned veteran, has issued some 30 recordings as a leader and appeared on 100-plus other recordings, performing as either co-leader or in support of other like-minded musicians. Not simply a performer, the saxophonist has recorded more than 100 original compositions including the music for the soundtrack of A Bronx Tale, which marked Robert DeNiro's 1993 directorial debut.

Violinist Regina Carter is considered the foremost jazz violinist of her generation – a designation which doesn’t quite paint the picture. As a result of her curiosity, passion, and quest for beauty brought to every stop taken on her full musical journey, she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship (a “genius grant”). Southern Comfort (2014) thematically connects Carter’s earlier albums I’ll Be Seeing You: A Sentimental Journey (2006), which features her mother’s favorite early jazz standards; and Reverse Thread (2010) which celebrates the tradition of African music re-imagined for violin, accordion, bass, drums and kora.

With over ten recordings as a leader, vocalist, businessman and educator Kevin Mahogany has been the standard setter for jazz vocalists for three decades.

His broad baritone was forged in his hometown: the legendary jazz metropolis known as Kansas City; where he learned to swing like Charlie Parker, shout the blues like Big Joe Turner, and cry a ballad like Lester Young; while, extending, elaborating and refining the jazz vocal legacies of Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, Eddie Jefferson and Al Jarreau into the myriad, interwoven dimensions of music – from gutbucket, the Great American Songbook, and gospel, to Mingus to Motown.

The McFadden Brothers are world-class entertainers whose career spans across many countries and venues. Exhibiting a wide range of steps from soft-shoe to street-corner moon-walking. Their voices complement each other, making their singing style very smooth and enjoyable. Topped off by their effortless-looking, but extremely difficult instrument playing. They intermix their singing, dancing, and musical abilities with their own brand of comedy that creates a true entertainment experience. The McFadden Brothers have proved time and time again to possess an on-stage charisma that enables them to command and please audiences of all ages.


Bryshere Y. Gray aka rapper Yazz plays the role of Hakeem Lyon in the hit FBC Series Empire opposite Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, from Executive Producer Lee Daniels. In Empire, Bryshere plays Hakeem the youngest and favorite son who is a charming, charismatic, and up and coming rap star. FBC’s Empire, written by Danny Strong, and directed by Lee Daniels, and is being produced by Brian Grazer and Imagine Entertainment. The Series has had a record-breaking launch in the Ratings and shows no signs of slowing down.

The Soul Rebels started with an idea – to expand upon the pop music they loved on the radio and the New Orleans brass tradition they grew up on. They took that tradition and blended funk and soul with elements of hip-hop, jazz, and rock. The band has settled on an eight-piece lineup and have built a career around an eclectic live show that harnesses the power of horns and drums in the party-like atmosphere of a dance club. When not touring, The Soul Rebels’ weekly show at New Orleans’ Le Bon Temps Roulé is known to erupt with the kind of contagious, shout-along musical mayhem that The Rebels bring with them wherever they perform.

Queen Bey

Queen's wide repertoire of jazz and blues standards and innovative and often unknown songs are drawn from her first-hand experiences working with the legends of jazz and blues. Queen's style, "a natural and understated approach to the material make for a solid crowd pleaser" according to Variety magazine. Queen has performed with B.B. King, The Platters, and the late jazz pianist Earl Garner. She is officially recognized as Kansas City's Ambassador of Jazz and each year travels internationally promoting jazz and blues music on behalf of the United States and jazz organizations.

Angela Hagenbach

Angela's sultry contralto voice moves easily between musical genres and excels in her interpretations of Jazz Standards and Latin Jazz. Widely known as a masterful interpreter of great songs written by everyone from Duke Ellington to Antonio Carlos Jobim, Hagenbach is an accomplished songwriter in her own right. Two of her compositions are featured in Last Will, a film starring Tatum O'Neil, James Brolin and Tom Berenger and she was cast as the Wedding Singer. She works as a print model and voice artist, performing commercials and jingles for radio and television, in addition to regular club date appearances.

When you speak to Eddie Moore you find an ocean of calm, and when you listen to Eddie Moore & The Outer Circle you find the depth of that ocean. Eddie reaches from the soul with every note, in a deep way, with a tension just below the surface. His yearning for exploration and curiosity in music contribute to an ebb and flow freedom of expression, that in result gives to new discovery.

Moore’s music celebrates the human experience while honoring the legacy of the American Idiom through his commitment to artistic inclusiveness and innovation.

It's no surprise that music lovers and critics around the world have been singing Allyson’s name from the roof tops, marveling at the range of this extraordinary musician, who moves with such ease and authority from the Great American Songbook of Gershwin and Porter to the Great American Jazz Songbook of Duke and Thelonious and Miles and Dizzy, jet-setting to Rio and Paris and swinging back home to pick up Bonnie Raitt and Joni Mitchell and Jimmy Webb. What unites this wide world of music — brings it together and makes sense of it all — is Karrin Allyson’s warmth and depth. She’s not just singing a lyric, she’s telling you her story. And then that becomes your story. You hear the music from the inside out.

Landmarks, the fourth recording by Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band, marks their return to Blue Note Records, Brian chose to record seven of the ten compositions in his hometown of Shreveport. As on each prior Fellowship Band release, Blade and pianist Jon Cowherd refract these impressions into their own musical poetry, with an ear to the individualistic styles of Myron Walden (alto saxophone, bass clarinet), Melvin Butler (soprano and tenor saxophone) and Chris Thomas (bass). For the recording of Landmarks, Marvin Sewell and Jeff Parker are on guitars. Excepting the guitarists, The Fellowship Band has remained a unit since their eponymous 1998 debut and its 2000 follow­up, Perceptual, both on Blue Note. You can hear it in the cohesion and exploratory spirit of their collective and individual interpretations, orchestrated and propelled by the leader’s in­the­moment beats and textures.

Pablo Sanhueza
Latin Jazz

The Kansas City Latin Jazz All-Stars is a collaborative project of musicians with long-standing presence and impact in contemporary Afro-Latin American music in Kansas City & the Midwest. Led by Pablo Sanhueza and co-sponsored by the American Jazz Museum, Missouri Arts Council, Kansas City Young Audiences, and the Esoke Cultural Center. The KC Latin All-Stars delivers Afro-Latin American music and dance under the influence of funk, jazz, and r&b.

Blair Bryant is a 22-year-old emerging contemporary jazz artist, currently signed to the Innervision Records Label. Bryant is a musical prodigy who plays over 14 instruments and is a prolific writer and producer. A product of the UMKC Conservatory of Music and the Grammy Music Experience, his first release New Colours was ranked one of the top 10 best Jazz CDs of 2015 ( and yielded a national Top 10 hit single “Lightning Bug” (Groove Jazz Music). Blair’s sound is upbeat, layered, lush, and evocative of different tonal colors and moods. He has been favorably compared to Stanley Clarke, Joe Sample and Wayman Tisdale.

Kansas City's VINE STREET RUMBLE Jazz Orchestra, directed by Kent Rausch, was formed to honor the legacy of the "golden era" of our city's world renowned jazz history. The band exclusively performs the same outrageously exciting music that made Kansas City THE place to be in the 30's and 40's, dedicated to taking the audience back to the wildly famous "jam sessions" and concert performances that literally changed the jazz world and influenced musicians from coast to coast and beyond.

Max Groove
Smooth Jazz

One of the pioneers of the smooth jazz style that has dominated the airways and captivated countless listeners for years. He has twelve internationally released albums, three in the top twenty Billboard Jazz. His current release Night Owl has his signature urban smooth jazz sound while showcasing his innovative Funky jazz structures. Along with Garland Smith on drums, and Clay Johnson on bass, they bring their world of sound, melody, and emotion to the stage, a refreshing combination of original and contemporary jazz that guarantees to satisfy the most avid fan.

Ida McBeth

There’s a quiet storm in Kansas City. And it swirls around the captivating, elegant, mystifying and delightful music of singer Ida McBeth. Ida’s musical style is so unique that it is hard to classify. Over the years, her repertoire has included pop-style ballads, jazz and blues, show tunes, funk, R&B, gospel and well-known standards. Critics have described her as “a jazz singer,” “a blues singer,” “a pop singer” and “a cabaret singer.” Others have referred to her as “a storyteller,” “a professor emeritus of body language,” “a consummate actress” and “the complete entertainer.” A song stylist is the title Ida prefers.

Through performances and education programs, The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra preserves the rich heritage of jazz, nurtures its growth, and encourages its appreciation as an art form for all ages.

Lee Langston

Lee Langston (better known by his stage name “Langston”) is a multi-genre soul music crooner based out of Kansas City, well known for the musical productions that have been featured at various venues under his company Langston’s Hues Entertainment. As a songwriter, this soulful tenor is creating some of the most ambitious R&B of the day. With his upcoming material, he is helping to revive the concept of the true R&B auteur by expressing individual style. Appealing to a wide demographic, the fusion of Soul, Pop, R&B & Jazz has been well received by numerous audiences young and old alike. No matter if it is a show for his cover band “Langston & Prototype” or the quarterly “Langston’s Hues Tribute Series” that pays homage to well known national artists, the quality of each production has been consistent.

Soigné has been bringing Old School R&B, Funk, Soul, Gospel and Disco music to Kansas City and surrounding areas since 2012. Specializing in hits from the 60s to present day favorites, we provide an entertaining, authentic, positive experience during every performance! Our lead vocalists, a mother/daughter duo, have an incomparable connection, which adds so much warmth to the performance.

And more to be announced!