Melodies of the Mafia
Author Frank Hayde traces the connection between the Kansas City Mafia and the city's jazz scene in the 1920s and '30s.
|Presenting||Melodies of the Mafia|
June 24, 2009
7:00PM to 9:00PM
|Contact Name||(970) 241-8801|
|Ticket Notes:||Free event, although donations are welcome.|
On Wednesday, June 24 at 7 pm, Frank Hayde will present this month’s installment of the Lifelong Learning Series. Hayde’s presentation, "Melodies of the Mafia," will cover the connection between the Kansas City Mafia and the city’s jazz scene. The Lifelong Learning Series is education for the sake of education, and KAFM is proud to provide this service for our community.
“The overarching theme would be how the wide-open policies of a mafia-run city led to a world class jazz scene,” said Frank Hayde, the author of MAFIA AND THE MACHINE: THE STORY OF THE KANSAS CITY MOB. Prominent KC jazz figures include Count Basie, Charlie Parker, Mary Lou Williams, Jay McShann and other “greats.” The Kansas City jazz scene, according to Hayde, is the birthplace of the jam session, where friends and strangers alike would improvise on stage to create spontaneous music in a highly creative atmosphere. This particular jazz scene had very competitive jam sessions called “cutting contests.” If a musician couldn’t keep up with the other musicians, he or she was removed, or cut, from the stage.
By ignoring Prohibition, the mob-controlled city government helped create an opportunity for a jazz scene to flourish during the 1920’s and 30’s. Musicians from other areas flocked to the “Paris of the Plains” to find work in the city’s many jazz joints and concert halls.
Hayde will also discuss how events unfolding in the Kansas City underworld influenced other aspects of American History including presidential politics, and the development of Las Vegas, NV.
This event is free to the public, although donations are welcome.