Congressmen push New Orleans as the ‘birthplace of Jazz,’ Kansas City as music style’s ‘home’ _lowres

Advocate staff file photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- New Orleans native Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews finishes out his set and the final set of Jazz Fest 2013 with his band Orleans Ave. on the Acura Stage in New Orleans, Sunday, May 5, 2013.

New Orleans is home to a national park celebrating its role in the history of jazz music and the storied JazzFest that draws thousands of revelers each year.

But a proposed Congressional resolution would designate Kansas City, Missouri, as the official “Home of Jazz.”

The resolution, which is jointly sponsored by Louisiana Congressman Cedric Richmond of New Orleans and Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver of Kansas City, would also designate New Orleans as the “The Birthplace of Jazz,” while ceding the title of the music style’s “home” to Kansas City.

The resolution recognizes New Orleans as the place where West African slave rhythms combined with the hymns of the church to create jazz. It also name-checks New Orleans’ Congo Square and jazz pioneer Jelly Roll Morton.

“The sound of brass horns and piano keys are the heartbeat of New Orleans,” said Richmond said in a news release from Cleaver’s office. “Since its birth in the French Quarter over 200 years ago, jazz has carried the sound and spirit of the city all over the world. I’m proud that this musical marvel will live on and with it the creativity and soul of its origins.”

But the proposed resolution inks out that Kansas City “through the musical genius of local artists including Charles ‘Yard Bird’ Parker, Count Basie, Mary Lou Williams, Big Joe Turner, Bennie Moten and the incomparable Jay McShann, became known throughout the world as the breeding ground from which this music unique to the United States has grown up.”

Cleaver said, “(E)veryone knows that Kansas City is where jazz grew up, and I’m glad it will forever be acknowledged as the home of this musical phenomenon.”

The resolution was introduced the same week as the start of the 47th annual Jazz & Heritage Festival in New Orleans.

Would you be OK with New Orleans sharing the claim to jazz with Kansas City? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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