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During the time in which the American Jazz Museum and The Blue Room were closed, we designed a contest to pay homage to one of the world’s greatest musicians, Charlie Parker. Our efforts are meant to stimulate the creative minds of all musicians (instrumentalists and vocalists) and to award a small stipend to the top three winners of the contest.


Participants filmed a performance of a bebop tune based on the criteria set below. 

  • Selected from one of the two categories:
  1. Compose and perform (1) tune in the bebop style.
  2. Arrange and perform (1) Charlie Parker tune of your choice.

  • The selected tunes were 3 minutes or less.

  • The selected tune were performed as a solo, duo, trio, quartet, or your preferred ensemble size, with extreme care and effort taken towards social distancing and reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Judging categories

  • Musicality

  • Originality

  • Creativity


  • First place - $250

  • Second place - $150

  • Third place - $100











Sippin’ From My Apple Snapple





Strollin’ Down Hillsborough St.





Yardbird Suite




Au Priviave






Winners and honorable mentions videos can be found on The American Jazz Museum's YouTube and The Blue Room's Facebook, and audio can be found on the American Jazz Museum's SoundCloud



Stan Kessler






Stan Kessler is a trumpet and flugelhorn player, bandleader, clinician, and educator in the Kansas City area. He also does extensive writing and arranging for small groups. He is currently leading The Sons of Brasil (29 years), The Stan Kessler Quartet/Trio/Duo (25 years), Stan Kessler's TV (3 years), HoraceScope (9 years), Passport (7) years), Parallax, (6 years). Stan has 7 recording projects to his credit as leader, and has produced another 6 projects for other artists. For 20 years Stan has maintained an adjunct position at The University of Missouri at Kansas City in Jazz trumpet, theory and improvisation, and music business classes. For 15 years Stan has been on faculty of KC Youth Jazz and Metro Jazz Workshop ans The Kansas City Jazz Academy. Stan was voted Best Trumpet Player and Leader of the Best Jazz Band (SOBs) in KC by the Pitch Readers’ Poll. He was deemed Musician of The Year by blogger Plastic Sax in 2013. He has appeared in concert with Clark Terry, Paquito D'Rivera,  Gary Foster, Karrin Allyson, Steve Cardenas, Kevin Mahogany, Bobby Watson, John Clayton, Kim Park, Matt Otto. Kansas City Jazz Orchestra and many others. Visit him at


Clarence Smith




Clarence Smith is a professional percussionist and the Coordinator/Instructor of music at Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley. As an educator with specific expertise in jazz, Smith is a frequent guest director of honors jazz ensembles and is in demand as a jazz/percussion clinician and adjudicator. He is founder and director of the annual three-day 18th and Vine Jazz Festival for middle school and high school students. Smith was artistic director of Kansas City Youth Jazz; founder and director of Metropolitan Jazz Workshop-Kansas City and was recently selected to lead the American Jazz Museum’s Kansas City Jazz Academy. He was named “High School Jazz Educator of the Year” by Downbeat Magazine and was the recipient of the first Ahmad Alaadeen Award for Excellence in Jazz Education. As a drummer he can be found performing in multiple genres including jazz, classical, music theater and R&B.  He holds a BME from Central Methodist. University and a master's degree in arts education from Lesley University, Boston. 

Bobby Watson



A saxophonist, composer, arranger and educator, Bobby Watson grew up in Kansas City, Kan. He trained formally at the University of Miami, a school with a distinguished and well-respected jazz program. After graduating, he proceeded to earn his "doctorate" – on the bandstand – as musical director of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. The group, created in 1955 by late legendary drummer who died in 1990, showcased a rotating cast of players, many who, like Watson, would go on to have substantial careers as bandleaders in their own right. The Jazz Messengers – frequently referred to as the "University of Blakey" – served as the ultimate "postgraduate school" for ambitious young players.

For more than three decades now Watson has contributed consistently intelligent, sensitive and well-thought out music to the modern-day jazz lexicon. All told, Watson, the immensely talented and now-seasoned veteran, has issued some 30 recordings as a leader and appeared on 100-plus other recordings, performing as either co-leader or in support of other like-minded musicians. Not simply a performer, the saxophonist has recorded more than 100 original compositions including the music for the soundtrack of A Bronx Tale, which marked Robert DeNiro's 1993 directorial debut. Numerous Watson compositions have become classics such as his "Time Will Tell," "In Case You Missed It" and "Wheel within a Wheel," each now oft-recorded titles that are interpreted by his fellow musicians both on the bandstand and on other recordings.

Pamela Baskin-Watson



Pamela Baskin-Watson is a pianist, accompanist, composer, arranger, vocalist, and teacher. Her compositions/arrangements have been recorded by: Roy Hargrove, Terell Stafford, Kevin Mahogany, Betty Carter, Art Blakey, Victor Lewis, The World Youth Choir, Bobby Watson, 29th Street Sax Qtet and Deborah Brown, to name a few.

She is working on a musical theater piece with the working title ‘Mighty Funny Kinda Love,’ presented as a part of the November 2019 AMAS Theater NYC's festival of new works. In March 2020 Ms. Watson performed at the SCHOMBURG (NYC) for their annual Women’s Jazz Festival, honoring the 100th anniversary of pianist Hazel Scott. In the Kansas City area, Ms. Watson is known as a church musician, vocalist/MD for the K.C. based group Book of Gaia, and MD/pianist for theater productions for Spinning Tree Theater, Metropolitan Ensemble Company, Music Theatre Heritage, and Black Repetory Theater.


Charles D. Williams




Charles D. Williams, is a native of Kansas City, Kansas. Mr. Williams has played piano for over 40 years. As a trombonist, he studied under Mr. Leon Brady at Sumner High School and supplemented this training with musical studies under the tutelage of the late Mr. Reginald Buckner. Mr. Williams was a member of the award-winning Sumner Jazz Band that also attended the Paris International Jazz festival in Paris France in 1972, and was auspiciously judged to be “the best High School Band in the World. Mr. Williams also had the pleasure of participating in the Turner House Jazz series in the 70’s – having opportunity to play with such great jazz artist as: Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Roy Ayers, Cannonball and Nat Adderley, Frank Wess, Clark Terry, Ernie Wilkins, Rich Matteson, and many more.

Today, Mr. Williams performs as the pianist for The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra. The orchestra performed in Hanover, Germany (May 2018) at the Hanover Jazz Festival, and also in Szczecin, Poland at several major jazz events. This orchestra has backed many artist such as, Benny Golson, The New Your Voices, Wycliffe Gordon, Ernie Andrews, Houston Person, Harold Jones, The Four Freshmen, Randy Brecker, Bobby Watson, Deborah Brown, and many more. Mr. Williams’ local involvement extends beyond his own performances. He established his Keyboard Academy where he teaches students and inspires the next generation of great Kansas City musicians. He produces music, makes custom soundtracks, works with vocalist, and mentors young musicians, and just released his current CD entitled “Flavors of Jazz” in April of 2018. Charles is also a newly added member to the board for the American Jazz Museum.