March 16, 2017 @ 7:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Alex Abramovitz and His Swing’n Kansas City Jazz Band was founded in 2008 by Alex Abramovitz, a trumpet and flugelhornist, and, pianist, Wayne Alexander as The Dynamic Jazz Duo. During the first few months of the duo’s existence, Dynamic Jazz performed a variety of small events, including the spring JCCC Recitals, Spirit of Mission Days, and the Mission Arts and East Festival. Soon, thereafter, the group renamed itself Swing’n.
In the first five years of the band’s existence, and under several different lineups, the group channeled its focus in the genres of cool jazz, post-bop, and bebop. The group played many “High-Profile” events including the Governor’s Reception for the State of Kansas and the National Federation of Republican Women’s 2011 National Convention.
After taking some time off, Alex began working on rebranding the group, changing the focus of the group, and studying the history and heritage of Kansas City Jazz.
In October 2013, after a two-year pause, Alex Abramovitz and His Swing’n Kansas City 2 performed their 2nd Inaugural Performance at Black Dog Coffeehouse in Lenexa, Kansas featuring Rick Long on the Drums in addition to Alex and Wayne. A few weeks later Alex would bring in a young up-and-coming tenor sax player, Boyd Wilson, and Boyd’s schoolmate Seth Davis, a guitarist; with these additions Rick would be moved to play bass in order to bring back the group’s primary drummer, Jonathan Davidson. With the current lineup the name of the group changed to Alex Abramovitz and His Swing’n Kansas City 5.
On December 14, 2013, Alex Abramovitz and His Swing’n Kansas City 5 played the first, of many, Saturday Jazz Brunches at The Phoenix, a high-profile jazz and blues venue in Kansas City. With Personnel changes coming about in January 2013, Alex quickly renamed the group, Alex Abramovitz and His Swing’n Kansas City Jazz Band, with uncertainty in the air, as Wayne quit the group for the second time.
With the addition of Tantrum Niche Records, and pianist John Maxfield, the band found themselves in the recording studio for the first time in May 2014. The band’s debut album, SCAMP’S ALLEY, was released at The Kill Devil Club on August 21, 2014; the release date, however would be the last performance by Seth Davis with the group.
In September 2014, the band was featured in The Kansas City Star, along with The Phoenix, in an article highlighting the Saturday Jazz Brunch. This helped to solidify the success of the Jazz Brunch, and the group.
On December 6, 2014, the band celebrated their One Year Anniversary Brunch with a LIVE recording session; the charts were good enough that they will be featured in two upcoming albums, to be released, by the group.
In December 2014, the band faced more personnel changes as drummer Jonathan Davidson left the group, and saxophonist Boyd Wilson was forced to step back due to school. This lead to a period of experimentation with the group’s lineup; pianist, Joel Schuman, left the group that May, appearing periodically throughout the rest of 2015. Upon Joel’s departure, the group welcomed, bassist, Carly Atwood to the group, and Rick Long moved to drums; this allowed for the group to refocus on the original mission.
On July 11, 2015, the band’s second album, Ripe Off the Vine!, was given a soft release at The Phoenix; it was re-released at The Broadway Kansas City, in August. The album was met to negative reviews by the critics, but received a nomination for Local Album of the Year in Kansas City’s Pitch Magazine in September 2015; it placed 2nd, being the only jazz album to place in a year where many outstanding jazz albums were released locally. The Saturday Jazz Brunch also took the 3rd Place Award for Jazz Event of the Year.
The group made it’s first road trip in September 2015, travelling to Ottumwa, Iowa, where they played a special show at Indian Hills Community College.
In November 2015 the group began working with an up-and-coming vocalist, Miss Joanna Berkebile, showcasing her on occasion at The Saturday Jazz Brunch.
On December 5, 2015, the band celebrated it’s second anniversary of The Saturday Jazz Brunch at The Phoenix. The following week the band began working with CODA to start a monthly event that would kick off on January 2, 2016, known as Riffin’ at the CODA: A Night in Tom’s Town. This event is a dinner-show that focuses on certain aspects of Kansas City’s rich jazz heritage and the spirit of 1934, a pinnacle time in Kansas City’s developmental history, and the height of Boss Tom Penderghast’s reign. The opening night was a success and welcomed a sell-out crowd.
As the group continues on in it’s 8th year, expect more, as the story is still writing itself…
The primary focus and mission of the group is to preserve the heritage of Kansas City Jazz through performance, education, and entertainment.