Mutual Musicians Foundation

1823 Highland Ave Kansas City

Kansas City Hidden Gems/Mutual Musicians Foundation
The Budget Savvy Travelers
Written By The Budget Savvy Travelers

Audrey and Harry Lesner, otherwise known as The Budget Savvy Travelers, are full-time travelers and digital nomads. Born and raised in Chicago, their passion to show others how to break free without breaking the budget. They are the proud winners of the 2019 Top Budget Travel Blog.

Mutual Musicians Foundation

Sitting at 1823 Highland Avenue, the Mutual Musicians Foundation is located in the historic Jazz District of Kansas City, near 18th and Vine. Since the 1930s, musicians have been meeting here to play music into the early hours of the morning.

"My escape from reality. Truly an amazing place every time I make the journey. An accidental find but the best place I could have ever stumbled upon. Every time welcomed with open arms and smiles not to mention the true art that resonates from the walls. True history, love, and a breath of pure passion you feel from the artists. Thanks for sharing a little piece of history every time." —Jessica Blanton-Latta

History

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this celebrated facility has a mural on the front of the building that features massive music notes. The building is the former dwelling of the Colored Musicians Local 627. The Foundation was incorporated to oversee the assets of Local 627 and the building itself.

From then on, the Mutual Musicians Foundation Inc. continued to manage the facilities as a social club for music enthusiasts until 1970 when Local 627 merged with Local 34. Interestingly, the Foundation was featured in the movie, “The Last of the Blue Devils.” This 1979 documentary shares more about the history of Kansas City jazz. It features stars like Count Basie and Kansas City native Big Joe Turner. Count Basie, Big Joe Turner, and Charlie Parker were famous musicians that frequently stopped by, making it an extremely popular jazz club for locals and tourists alike.

Jazz Nights

Nowadays, the African-American Musicians Union, Local 627, is also identified as the Mutual Musicians Foundation. Just like in the 1930s, musicians and fans gather here on Friday and Saturday nights to enjoy live jazz music and drinks from 1 to 5 AM. There is a nightly member fee of $10 per person to enter (prices subject to change).

Enjoy a glimpse of a typical jam session in the clip below which features Denyse Walcott performing at the Mutual Musicians Foundation:

The space is also used for private parties, a classroom, and a rehearsal area. Considered by many to be a “living museum,” the Foundation is a great place for jazz lovers to embrace the music of the past and take in the local talent of musicians in the present.

Cover image by Sesamehoneytart / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0).

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