First Wednesday rolled around again, faster than it seemed possible. I drove back to the plaza after work, barely stopping long enough to grab a quick bite to eat. I arrived with a half-hour to spare, waiting on my long-time friend, Marge, and her husband, Bill. I stayed in the lobby of Unity Temple until about ten minutes to seven, hoping to catch them as they arrived. I gave up and grabbed some seats about midway down the aisle. Marge and Bill arrived with just a couple minutes to spare.
The evening’s program featured the rich, velvet vocals of Lester “Duck” Warner, performing with Tim Whitmer & The Consort Band of Spirituality and All That Jazz.
Lester Warner, affectionately known as “Duck,” is a quiet, soft-spoken man who transforms himself into a spectacular entertainer when he takes the stage. His voice is a rich baritone with a beautiful full falsetto that has been compared to Nat “King” Cole. He is also a gifted instrumentalist who plays trumpet, flugelhorn and trombone. Duck has headlined Japan’s first International Jazz Festival, Kansas City’s Spirit Festival, and The Kansas City Blues and Jazz Festival. He was voted Kansas City’s Best Male Vocalist three years in a row. The International Trumpet Guild has recognized duck as a veteran of the revered “old school” associated with the special brand of Kansas City “Swing” music. Benny Powell, trombonist with the Count Basie Band, calls Duck a “premiere entertainer.”
Tim and the usual suspects took the stage and played a short set of jazz standard instrumentals.
- Autumn Leaves
- Cute … County Basey tune
- They’ll Never Be Another You
After those three songs, Tim introduced Duck Warner and the concert proceeded with only a couple of restarts.
- I’m in Love
- Almost Like Being in Love
- Everyday I Have the Blues
- My Romance
- Route 66
After the last song, I finally had a chance to snatch a few minutes of conversation with Marge as we walked to the parking garage. We said our goodbyes and I hit the road for the return trip home (second time, no sunglasses necessary). I made it home by ten after nine o’clock and had trouble finding a place to park. Band practice was still going strong in the band room.
I uploaded the videos I took and went to bed and attempted to sleep, band practice not withstanding.
Tim Whitmer piano interlude:
Everyday I Have the Blues:
The Way You Look Tonight:
Next month, on the first Wednesday, the day after my birthday, the featured vocalist is Diane ‘Mama’ Ray at Spirituality and All That Jazz. Come on down to the Plaza, sit a spell and savor some cool evening jazz. The best seven bucks you’ll ever spend.