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American Jazz Museum

Image of American Jazz Museum

TYPE: Art Museums
ADDRESS: 1616 E 18th St. Kansas City, MO 64108-
PHONE: 816-474-8463
TOLL FREE: 816-474-6262
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Average Rating

5 out of 5 stars (2 Reviews)

Price: Either Museum: $8/adults, $3/children under 12; Both Museums: $10/adults, $5/children under 12: Both Museums, groups of 25 or more: $6/adults, $3/children under 12
Hours: Open 9am-6pm Tue.-Sat., noon-6pm Sun.

The sights and sounds of a uniquely American art form come alive at the American Jazz Museum. The Museum includes interactive exhibits and educational programs as well as the Blue Room, a working jazz club, and the Gem Theater, a modern 500-seat performing arts center.

Located in the 18th & Vine Historic Jazz District in Kansas City, this is the place where jazz masters such as Charlie Parker, Count Basie, Big Joe Turner, and hundreds of others defined the sounds of the 1920s, 30s, and 40s.

Today, scholars, students, musicians, and fans are drawn here to learn about the legends, honor their legacy, or simply enjoy the best music America has to offer.

Additional Museum Highlights: Celebrating the artistic, historical, and cultural contributions of jazz, the American Jazz Museum includes: Rare photos, album covers, memorabilia, and personal items telling the stories of jazz legends Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Charlie Parker.

More than 100 recordings of the greatest jazz ever played.

Studio 18th & Vine, where visitors experiment with harmony, melody, and rhythm.

Films and special collections honoring the impact of jazz on the American experience.

Special exhibits highlighting Kansas City’s unique contributions to jazz.

"Where It Lives"

The American Jazz Museum provides several programs and venues for people to enjoy live jazz music, including:

The Blue Room: Named after the famed 18th & Vine nightspot in the old Street Hotel, this working jazz club is open four nights a week and features the best local and national artists in an intimate, creative, smoke-free setting.

The Gem Theater: Behind the restored 1912 façade is a modern 500-seat performing arts center. In addition to our annual "Jammin' at the Gem" jazz masters' concert series, the theater hosts many community events and theatre productions.

The Changing Gallery: Four times a year, the American Jazz Museum presents special artistic exhibits inspired by jazz, baseball, and African-American life.


Very Nice


5 out of 5 stars

Tim H. - Fremont, NE

We had stopped by once before and been put off by the fact that there was only 1 room to the museum, however, we found that this was misleading. The room is huge and if you did everything there (listened to everything, saw all the movies, etc...) you could easily be there 3 hours or more. Took us about 1 hour to get through.

Individually, they focus primarily on Louie Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker and Ella Fitzgerald (almost no mention of Miles Davis, John Coltrane or others). There are lots of recordings to listen to and a collection of "soundies" - almost like early Jazz Music Videos (but on film) from the 40's & 50's.

The "studio" section is really good - especially for non-musicians. It gives you a chance to see the differences in jazz much more clearly. For example, in the drum area, you can listen to a jazz tune, and change the drums from BeBop to solo to other styles to get a feel for the differences between them. Very cool!

Only complaint was that a number of headphones sets had only 1 channel working (left or right). If you get the 2-for-1 tickets on this site, the cost is only about $4.00 per person. Another GREAT value.

Jazz Up in the Never Resting KC Night

No star rating provided.

Kuanyu C. - Leawood, KS

I moved to KC in 2004 to attend the school and settle down. At the beginning, I thought KC is just another Midwest boring corn field city. Nevertheless, I fell in the love with KC for its unique quiet beauty, simplicity, but also unstoppable growing of diverse culture and firm connection with its rich past. Therefore, I start researching the history of KC and joyfully surprised with its hidden colorful Jazz history. The Jazz of KC carries its own exceptional flavor which none of the Jazz I heard at Chicago, New York, or New Orleans can express. The Jazz in KC has the sweetness and tender love which come not as strong head at first sight yet lasting. It contains the prospect for the coming glory future and also the secretly forgotten magnificence from the past. All these give KC Jazz a solely bitter sweet taste just like slowly eating a piece of chocolate with a cup of black coffee. Today, I call Kansas City, my home, my sweet home.

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