Kansas City Connections
Updated: May 25
Hello readers! This is a Birthday edition of Blake’s Blog. Today is my 59th birthday, incredible to have made it this long! I am grateful.
Just over one week left here in KC before the move to Florida!
Today I am continuing with the recap of my three years here in Kansas City. I also will be posting later in the week about some of my non-musical experiences and take-aways from my time in the KC area. As far as the musicians in Kansas City, there are some world-class players here and I am grateful to have met so many of them. It was wonderful to make new friends and bandmates during the last three years.
In my last blog post I mentioned some of the first people I met after moving to KC who helped me get started in making musical connections here.
Today’s post is part two (of three posts) where I want to mention many of the fine and talented folks I’ve had the opportunity to share the bandstand with here in Kansas City. There is pretty much no way that I can name every single person with whom I worked here, but I can name most all of them! I am going to pay tribute now and show my appreciation by listing as many of those people as possible here. I hate to leave anyone out, please let me know if I missed your name! I am making this list primarily for my own archives and to retain the memories of working with these KC musical connections.
Keyboard players: Brian Ward, Dawson Jones, Tim Reid Jr., David Olson, fellow former Denverite Dr. Michael Pagan, Brant Jester, Angela Ward, Leslie Maclean and Jerry Hooper. I’m missing a couple names here, including a few talented pianists I met and played with on church gigs and jazz jam nights.
Guitar Players: Clayton DeLong, Brian Ruskin, Forrest Fowler, Riley Voth, Alex Frank, Danny Embrey, Ross Galler, Matt Shoaf, David Olson, Micah Burdick, Zach Arias, Jeff Stocks, Dylan Guthrie, Mike McClintock, David Marshall, Jason Mills, Rick Cole, Brandon Miller, Jamie Green
These are some of the finest guitarists I’ve played with, Kansas City has amazing guitar players!
Drummers: Josh Foreman, Spencer Smith, Ben Turkovic, Jake Schubert, Evan Maslak,
Dave DelGandio, Kenneth Davis, Bob Jolley, Kent Rausch, Caleb Fankhauser, Johnny Tracy,
Elliot Holt, Ismael Garcia, Pat Adams, Beau Gabriel-Smith, Brian Steever, Jerry Pollock,
Candice Hill, Lajuan Goodwin, Lisa McKenzie, Dylan Bassett and fellow former Denverite
Brad Evilsizer. There were also some exceptional church drummers and some wonderful jazz drummers I played with here as well, whose names I didn’t learn. I always love to create a rapport with drummers, the most important player in the band.
Horn Players: Max Levy, Matt Baldwin, Nate Nall, Kristen Nall, Alex Abramovitz, Jeff Schwartz, Chalis O’Neal, Pete Fucinaro, Jazzy Jazz Myagi
Kansas City is the home of Charlie Parker, and they take that legacy very seriously here.
There are some exceptionally talented horn players in KC!
Singers: Ernesto Hodison, Richie Joel, Taylor Jennings, Shelby Floyd, Pamela Todd, Emily Dix, Joanna Berkebile, Havilah Bruders, Summer Stone, David Olson, Samantha Barrett, Maria Savoy, T.J. Warren, Patrick Lentz, Audri Page, Matt Shoaf, Matt Fuhrman, Jamie Green, Caleb Foreman, Devin Williamson
There were other singers I met on KC FLO gigs and jam nights, sorry again for those names I didn’t manage to include.
Violin: Adam Galblum (Hot Club KC) Steelpan: Candice Hill Harmonica: Clay Kirkland
Bassists: Of course, I never got to gig alongside any bass players here but I met several of them and appreciated the gigs I got thanks to their referrals. I am also grateful to Black Dog Bass Works owner/operator and bassist bassist Greg Clinkingbeard for selling me my new bass, and helping me with repairs and advice. Shout-out to KC bassists Sam Copeland, Gerald Spaits,
Tim Brewer, Joey Panella, Kirk Day.
Special thanks to those of you who are bandleaders that hired me to work with you. It meant the world to me to have the opportunities you helped provide. I played rock, funk, blues, country, calypso and pop gigs while I was here, and I did a TON of jazz gigs. I never played as much jazz/upright bass as I did after I moved to KC. My next post will address my own ‘jazz journey’ that has happened while I've lived here.
Please check back in a few days!