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Kansas City's newest jazz series, showcasing local musicians playing the original material they don't get to perform anywhere else.
59 backers pledged $4,655 to help bring this project to life.
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$4,655

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Be an integral part of continuing Kansas City's rich history of jazz innovation!

The Spine Showcases is a music series that invites adventurous Kansas City jazz musicians to program a set of original compositions and arrangements. With the freedom to perform material that is not feasible in Kansas City’s classic jazz venues, their performances are imaginative, exciting, and ambitious.

Our series is hosted in the Charlotte Street Foundation's “Capsule” performance arts venue at 17th and Broadway. Each showcase features two ensembles, each playing one set. The Spine Showcases have already featured musicians including Eddie Moore, Matt Villinger, John Kizilarmut, Ernest Melton, and Matt Otto.

In the second half of the season, we’ll spotlighting 13 more musicians:

  • July 25: Peter Schlamb and Ryan J. Lee
  • August 22: Kadesh Flow and Amber Underwood
  • September 26: Bob Bowman, Ben Markley, and Hermon Mehari
  • October 24: Merman (Alyssa Murray and Adam Schlozman), Curtis Brink and the Drty Ten
  • November 21: Shay Estes and Marcus Lewis.
  • November 28: Spine Showcase Thanksgiving: Logan Richardson

We’ll wrap up the season with an evening of best-of performances from the year, taped with a live audience on December 30.

The Music from Kansas City's Jazz Heyday is Alive and Well, but the Innovative Boldness that Permeated those Days is in Danger.

If you go to any jazz club on the planet, toes tap to the signature walking 4/4 feel that was created in Kansas City. Groundbreaking musicians like Charlie Parker, Lester Young, and Count Basie set new standards while working in Kansas City. During a period of fertile creativity, music pumped out of Kansas City, and the music history made was so rich that the songs persist to this day, as familiar as the “Mona Lisa” or “Starry Night.” 

We're honored celebrate Kansas City's legacy, but as most painters would not be satisfied simply reproducing the works of da Vinci and Van Gogh, our current-day local musicians don’t play these standards alone. If galleries weren’t willing to hang brand-new original work on the walls, painters would wither creatively or move to greener pastures. If music venues and local audiences don’t come to hear original compositions and new music, Kansas City’s generative musicians will suffer the same fate. 

Can we Celebrate Kansas City's Future in Jazz as Much as we Revere our Past?

I’ve gone out on a limb to finance the first half of this series mostly out of pocket on the “If you build it, they will come” principle. I think there is an audience that wants to hear this music as much as the musicians want to perform it. The Spine Showcases is my attempt to connect the two to each other. If you fund it, it will continue. 

Check out our Pledge Rewards!
Check out our Pledge Rewards!

Risks and challenges

Our main challenges are budgetary constraints, representation, and finding our audience.

Budget: We pay $150 per musician each showcase. It’s a great hourly wage, but consider that a set of original music consumes months of work and rehearsals. Musicians who perform a set with us can't go perform for another two or three hours somewhere else to earn a full night’s wages. It’s important that musicians aren’t sacrificing their well-being in order to showcase their work.

Charlotte Street Foundation normally does not ticket their events. They offer us a $250 stipend per event, and all of the manpower needed to promote, photograph, and set up the performance space.

Representation: I've booked musicians who are generating new work, and who I perceive to lack opportunities to present it. There are many more ensembles that I would like to feature, but unless we can fund the series through 2020, there aren't enough spaces available to properly showcase all of the talented musicians in Kansas City's jazz scene.

Audience Engagement: There are usually a dozen jazz performances in Kansas City on Thursday, that’s a lot of competition! We need to use some funds to promote our events and get the word out about what we're doing so that we can connect to our audience.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 5 or more About US$ 5

    Digital Tip Jar

    Donate $5 or more to gain a peaceful sense of satisfaction, knowing you're supporting your local jazz scene. Have you been to a Showcase already, and you didn't have cash in your pocket at the time, and want to give it now? Plan on checking out a performance in the future and don't think you'll remember cash for the donation jar? Consider this your time machine.

    Remember, entry to the 2019 Spine Showcases series is always free.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 30 or more About US$ 30

    Thank-You Note with Personalized Fortune

    At first glance: a personalized thank-you postcard featuring our lead art image. Upon second look--a mysterious phrase on the back of the card, selected through who-knows-what means: your unique fortune, incorporating a lyric or title of a song performed during the 2019 series. Delivered in January 2020, perhaps this postcard will be all the information you need to guide you into the next year!

    There will be no duplicate fortunes, so get this reward before they're all gone.

    In addition, if you bump up your pledge to $50, you'll gain the "Recognized Founder" reward. Of course, you're also invited to attend any or all of the 2019 Spine Showcases! There will be no charge for our scheduled performances.

    Includes:
    • A regular postcard, with a potentially life-changing fortune
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    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    Recognized Founder

    You will go down in history as one of our ground-level founders. To mark the occasion, we'll customize an image of you (your choice) using our original artwork in the style of our 2019 Showcase posters. Use it to spread the word about The Spine Showcases! Your customized photo will be saved in our "Founders Album" on Facebook.

    Of course, entry to all of our 2019 Spine Showcases is free--if you've been throwing in your donations, why not get some recognition for the support you're giving us?

    Includes:
    • Custom Spine Showcases digital image
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 75 or more About US$ 75

    Performance Photo Booklet

    Receive a paperback booklet with beautiful color photography by Mason Kilpatrick. Mason has photographed every showcase so far, as you can see from the beautiful photos that pepper this Kickstarter. Receive a booklet of our favorites.

    Also, you will be recognized as a founder and go down in history with your own custom-made Spine Showcases poster-inspired image using our original artwork. Your customized photo will be saved in our "Founders Album" on Facebook.

    Includes:
    • Memories in Print--Performance Photo Booklet
    • Thank-you postcard featuring our lead art image
    • Custom Spine Showcases digital image
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    2 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    Cake Party!

    Treat all attendees of a Spine Showcase to cake! When you arrive at the Showcase, you'll see a half-sheet cake decorated with our heartfelt thank you message to you or another person of your choice. We supply the forks, plates, napkins, and cake. You donated the cash to make it happen. We'll be sure to thank you when we dish up the cake, and we'd prefer you're there in person so we can grab some photos of you with the cake!

    Please contact us to discuss other dietary options if you'd like to treat the audience but cake, sugar, or gluten isn't your thing. One cake per showcase, so pledge early to get your favorite date!

    Includes:
    • Half-sheet cake and necessary serving items
    • Thank-you postcard featuring our lead art image
    • Custom Spine Showcases digital image
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    Limited 5 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 125 or more About US$ 125

    Signed Poster

    Receive a signed Spine Showcases poster!

    In addition, you will go down in history as one of our ground-level founders. To mark the occasion, we'll customize an image of you (your choice) using our original artwork in the style of our 2019 Showcase posters. Your customized photo will be saved in our "Founders Album" on Facebook.

    Includes:
    • An 11x17 poster signed by Spine Showcases performers
    • Custom Spine Showcases digital image
    • Thank-you postcard featuring our lead art image
    • Memories in Print--Performance Photo Booklet
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    Ships to Only United States
    Limited 0 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 150 or more About US$ 150

    Named Founder with Lifetime Perks

    Contribute $150 or more, and you'll receive a handmade button that will entitle you to a lifetime of discounts and perks for all future Spine shows. Entry to this series at the Charlotte Street Capsule is free, but Spine shows won't always be free! Anyone in possession of a Named Founder button will be offered 10% off ticket prices to future Spine shows forEVER. Are future shows guaranteed? No. Is this a gamble? Yes. But hey, we're hosting six shows and not charging you anything for entry, so I think it'll pay off anyway! This reward is only offered to the first 20 contributors. No takebacks, no backsies. Button is transferable but irreplaceable.

    In addition, you will go down in history as one of our ground-level founders with a customized image of your choice in the style of our 2019 Showcase digital posters. Your customized photo will be saved in our "Founders Album" on Facebook.

    Includes:
    • Handcrafted button with lifetime 10% discount and perks!
    • Memories in Print--Performance Photo Booklet
    • Thank-you postcard featuring our lead art image
    • Custom Spine Showcases digital image
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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited 5 backers
    $

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    Insider Info for the Out-of-Towner

    Heard enough about Kansas City to decide that you should see it for yourself? Make the best use of your time during your visit. We'll be available prior to your visit for a planning session. Either through a series of emails or phone calls, we'll talk about who is playing where, and what you shouldn't miss while you're in town. We're talking music, art-events, and restaurant hook-ups. I'll give you the inside scoop! Have your questions answered and know someone in town before you set foot in it. In-towners are welcome to pledge for this reward, too.

    Includes:
    • Thank-you postcard featuring our lead art image
    • Custom Spine Showcases digital image
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    Limited 0 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 350 or more About US$ 350

    Composition Lesson

    Have one-on-one assistance from a Spine Showcase performer to develop your own song! Whether you are a musician, or a novice with a melody stuck in your head, we'll match you with the right musician to help you further develop your idea. Need feedback and suggestions for lyrics? Need help coming up with a perfect intro? Want someone to take the chords you've been playing and flavor them up with awesome color and subs? We will do it!

    In addition, you will go down in history as one of our ground-level founders. To mark the occasion, we'll customize an image of you (your choice) using our original artwork in the style of our 2019 Showcase posters. Use it to spread the word about The Spine Showcases! Your customized photo will be saved in our "Founders Album" on Facebook.

    Includes:
    • Custom Spine Showcases digital image
    • Thank-you postcard featuring our lead art image
    Less
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    Limited 2 backers
    $

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 600 or more About US$ 600

    Band Backer Sponsorship

    Your contribution of $600 will pay one quartet's performance. You will be thanked on the evening of the performance, as well as being recognized on our digital artwork and promotion efforts.

    In addition, you will go down in history as one of our ground-level founders. To mark the occasion, we'll customize an image of you (your choice) using our original artwork in the style of our 2019 Showcase posters. Use it to spread the word about The Spine Showcases! Your customized photo will be saved in our "Founders Album" on Facebook.

    Includes:
    • Handcrafted button with lifetime 10% discount and perks!
    • Memories in Print--Performance Photo Booklet
    • Thank-you postcard featuring our lead art image
    • Custom Spine Showcases digital image
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    0 backers
    $

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Funding period

- (28 days)