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    The Last of the Blue Devils: The Kansas City Jazz Story

    The Last of the Blue Devils: The Kansas City Jazz Story Poster
    The Last of the Blue Devils: The Kansas City Jazz Story Poster

    Released

    1980

    Runtime

    90

    The Last of the Blue Devils: The Kansas City Jazz Story

    What's it About

    Bruce Ricker's documentary celebrates the heritage and vibrancy of Kansas City (Mo.) Jazz, a swing-infused form advanced in the wide-open Kansas City of the 1930's by practitioners like Count Basie, Eddie Durham, Jimmy Foster and Big Joe Turner. Ricker records a joyous reunion of musicians forty years plus after the fact, allowing us to see the greats interacting and performing once again in the sunset of their days.

    Why we love it

    This warm, joyous film blends current day encounters and performances of old jazz comrades with lively footage and anecdotes of Kansas City — in prohibition days and just after, when the Pendergast political machine controlled the town. (Later, Boss Tom Pendergast would launch a former local haberdasher into politics: Harry S. Truman). Whatever else was happening, jazz was certainly thriving, and a host of musicians like Basie and Turner used the time and place to advance and perfect their individual gifts. This feature will be catnip for any jazz lover.