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The History of the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra

Presented By
Libby Hanssen

The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra has served as the city’s premier big band since 2003, preserving the city’s distinctive swing style of the 1930s and ’40s while also defining the Kansas City sound in the 21st century. Through performance, education, and outreach, KCJO shares the legacy of KC jazz with the community and future generations.

In a special Missouri Valley Saturdays discussion of her new book States of Swing: The History of the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra, 2003-2023, author Libby Hanssen recounts the orchestra’s history of regional and international performances, collaborations with world-class talent, and production of critically acclaimed albums.  

Drawn from personal interviews and thousands of documents, States of Swing offers a backstage look at favorite concerts and recording sessions and recounts interesting stories from the road. It’s an inside look at the challenges and triumphs of a nonprofit performing arts organization dedicated to a unique Kansas City art form.

Hanssen, based in Kansas City, has written for The Kansas City Star, KC Studio, The Pitch, KCUR 89.3, and 91.9 Classical KC, among other publications and outlets. She holds degrees in trombone performance and was a fellow in the National Endowment for the Arts’ Arts Journalism Institute in Classical Music and Opera at the Columbia University Journalism School in New York City. 

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The History of the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra

Date & Location
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Room Helzberg Auditorium
In Person
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