DIGITAL ALBUM: 2019 Fellows (ARC-2994) Kansas City Area Youth Jazz




Hello everyone! Thanks for supporting Kansas City Area Youth Jazz at Bandcamp. The 2019 Fellows’ album is finally finished and released here. Look for the vinyl version soon too.

For the foreseeable future, Bandcamp will be the exclusive source for the digital album. Please tell your contacts and friends who might also enjoy the work of these youth jazz artists.

The 2020 Kansas City Area Youth Jazz Fellows have also been announced and they begin rehearsing June 8 at BRC Audio Productions studio facility.

Congratulations to those who were selected after auditions! We had so many talented youth jazz artists audition that we will have two ensembles – The 4 O’clock Combo and The 6 O’clock Combo.

Our professional staff and esteemed faculty during our first season were unpaid volunteers. That says lots about the motives and reasoning behind our program. Our motivation is to pass down our professional knowledge of the jazz musical art form to our youngest generations.

We normally do this through a four-month season of 16 rehearsals, concerts, and recording sessions. Fellows usually perform original compositions and arrangements written specifically for them, learn the process of preparing music for commercial release, and learn about booking live performances in the community, among other vital business skills.

Among our goals is to immerse participants in an artist-level program that helps provide useful insights before attending college, university, or conservatory music programs. The Kansas City Area Youth Jazz experience helps refine and inform such decisions.

Thanks to all of the Fellows and their families for understanding and seeing the vision of this program then supporting it by participating.

Thanks again to Bill Crain for his friendship, artistic passion, and expertise in the fields of musical performance and audio engineering. The sound of this 2019 Fellows ensemble is a musical reflection of his ability to connect with these young jazz musicians at a level of detail and subtlety that produced artistry.

Thanks to Joel Gordon for his tangible commitment to the program in its first season through his untiring dedication as an educator, musician recruiter, and one of our program liaisons to the Kansas City area professional music educators’ community.

Thanks to Will Crain for his work with engineering the recording sessions and managing the studio each week during our season rehearsals.

We seek funding support of the program by selling the recordings we produce, chair sponsorships, booking concerts, donations, and grants. We use this funding for strategic investments in this project and for arts integration purposes.

Thanks again to everyone for getting involved and supporting this unique and innovative youth jazz program!

Christopher Burnett
Artistic Director and Founder

ODE TO JOE HEN is Dr. White’s nod to the legendary Joe Henderson and the progressive arrangement and harmonic progression of the composition captures the spirit musically. Although Henderson’s earliest recordings were marked by a strong hard-bop influence, it must be noted that both his writing and playing encompassed not only the bebop tradition but R&B, Latin, and avant-garde as well. Atzin Garcia’s alto saxophone delivers a creative solo that leads into pianist Coleman Gliddon’s colorful improvisation. Joshua McKeague’s burnished trumpet tone adds the right textures during his solo, and his brother Michael McKeague’s drum improvisation with the ensemble accompaniment brings the piece to a satisfying conclusion.

AS SOON AS POSSIBLE is a performance that demonstrates the skill of director Bill Crain in that he successfully attained a level of subtlety and nuance from the fellows during both their ensemble work and improvised solos. Mr. Garcia delivers another fine alto solo and trombonist Brendan Sullivan takes his first of several expressive solos on the album here. Carter Beucher’s alto saxophone solo is highlighted by a centered tone and focused improvisational ideas. Mr. Gliddon’s piano adds another tasty contribution.

LIGHT / DARK is a complex and multi-layered composition that features interwoven melodic lines and contemporary harmonies in a very well written piece of music. The work begins with Mr. Gliddon’s piano establishing a single note theme that develops and builds musically until the full ensemble is performing together. Another fine solo by Mr. Sullivan on trombone. Tenor Saxophonist Spencer Addis is heard for the first time improvising with passion and creativity.

BISHOP’S PEAK is a composition of shifting rhythmic moods that allow for interesting thematic melodic materials, background lines, and bedrock for soloists. Mr. Sullivan’s trombone solo takes advantage of the rhythmic contrasts while Mr. Beucher’s alto saxophone imbues a bluesy, swinging feeling. Mr. Gliddon and Michael McKeague trade improvisations back and forth between piano and drums respectively. Joshua McKeague delivers a strong performance.

BIRD FLU is a fitting tribute to bebop jazz innovator and Kansas native, Charlie Parker that also provides a few musical twists and turns for the soloists as well. Joshua McKeague’s flugelhorn keeps the energy level moving forward during his thoughtful improvisation. Mr. Garcia uses various thematic devices to cycle his alto saxophone improvisation as a hand-off to Mr. Gliddon’s piano solo break.

2019 FELLOWS is a fine debut album by the Kansas City Area Youth Jazz program that superbly documents the results of the program after its first season. The musical vision of both Mr. Christopher Burnett, the program’s Artistic Director, and Mr. Bill Crain, the ensemble’s Musical Director, is unified. They want the program efforts each season to culminate in the Kansas City Area Youth Jazz Fellows understanding the music harmonically and performing with nuance. In that way, they are genuinely able to improvise original melodies along with the traditional modern jazz language phraseology passed down from studying the jazz masters.

released May 28, 2020

Album Title: 2019 FELLOWS Album Artist: KANSAS CITY AREA YOUTH JAZZ featuring the music of Dr. Arthur White. Under the musical direction of Bill Crain. Edited, mixed, and mastered by Bill Crain. Recording Session Engineer: William Crain. Kansas City Area Youth Jazz meets and records at BRC Audio Productions in Kansas City, Kansas USA. Burnett Music Foundation: Christopher Burnett, Founder and Artistic Director.

Piano – Coleman Gliddon
Bass – Robert Law
Drums – Michael McKeague
Trumpet + Flugelhorn – Joshua McKeague
Alto Saxophone – Carter Beucher
Alto Saxophone + Flute – Atzin Garcia
Tenor Saxophone – Spencer Addis
All Saxophones – Emilio Alvarez
Trombone – Brendan Sullivan


Christopher Burnett + Terri Anderson Burnett
Dr. Mary Jane Burnett
Bill Crain


KCAYJ Chair Sponsorship is a great way to directly support the program and impact the experience of each KCAYJ Fellow. This product defrays administrative expenses associated with creating the KCAYJ Fellow experience. KCAYJ Chair Sponsorships are on-going and available for each of the following KCAYJ Fellows:

Alto Saxophone Fellowship
Christopher Burnett and Terri Anderson Burnett
Those Fabulous Boyce Boys

Tenor Saxophone Fellowship

Trumpet Fellowship
Darrel and Laura McKaig

Trombone Fellowship

Guitar Fellowship

Bass Fellowship
Steven Grandon and Daphne Grandon

Piano Fellowship
Steve Pepoon and Mary Stephenson

Drums Fellowship
Those Fabulous Boyce Boys

ARC-2994 all rights reserved