Elder Statesmen of KC Jazz
The Elder Statesmen of Kansas City Jazz is a jazz service organization founded in 1983 by Samuel Johnson, Jr. and Edward B. Baker, presidents of Mutual Musicians Foundation and Charlie Parker Memorial Foundation respectively. During KCMO Mayor Richard Berkley’s administration, the first 18th & Vine and Kansas City Jazz Festivals were held, and 38-senior musicians and industry supporters were honored for their contributions to Kansas City jazz making the style and sound recognized and revered around the world.
The first Induction Ceremony was held at Crown Center during that 1983 Labor Day weekend, and it was William “Count” Basie’s 79th and final birthday. There have been several induction ceremonies, ushering-in more groups of talented men and women, who are known for their musicianship, support of the industry, popular and well-known jazz and blues musicians are so honored, since that time.
On June 15, 2015, Sellie Truitt, the oldest Elder Statesman, turned 97 and passed away that December. Now, Mrs. Bernice Todd is the eldest Stateswoman at 97. Mrs. Todd will celebrate her 98th birthday September 2017, she and other Elder Statesmembers have great recollections of 12th and 18th & Vine hey-days. What they have to say is remarkable, educational and entertaining, especially when combined with a presentation featuring live traditional music. Expect nothing less than a wonderful event, exciting workshop or performance, when the Elder Statesmen are involved for any activity during a morning, afternoon or evening.