Moten, Bennie

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The Bennie Moten Orchestra

On September 23, 1923, the Bennie Moten Orchestra made its first recording consisting of eight songs. By strict musical standards, the songs themselves were unrefined and not much removed from existing blues music. But the Bennie Moten Orchestra would soon build upon its earliest recordings to develop a distinct Kansas City style of jazz that later dominated the jazz scene in the late 1930s and 1940s.

Charlie Parker

Parker was born in Kansas City, Kansas, on August 29, 1920. He grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, where he played in jazz clubs as a teenager and young man. The local jazz culture based in the Vine Street nightclub district cultivated his talents as a teenager. Indeed, it was during this period that Kansas City made notable contributions to jazz with hometown artists such as Count Basie, Bennie Moten, and Buster Smith.

Bennie Moten

Kansas City jazz, a hard-swinging, blues-based musical style that flourished in the 1920s and '30s, is arguably this city's greatest contribution to the uniquely American art form of jazz. Of the countless musicians and bandleaders who played at nightclubs, ballrooms, social clubs, and all-night jam sessions in the 18th & Vine district during that golden era, none embodied Kansas City jazz more than Bennie Moten.

"The Event of the Season": Charity, Politics, Dancing, and Jazz near 18th and Vine in the 1920s

When people think of Kansas City jazz in the 1920s and ‘30s, certain images come to mind: political corruption, gangster activity, and music that catered to and benefited from this type of environment. But vice and corruption were not the only elements that made the city a center of innovative music. The black middle and upper classes also supported the music and the musicians, especially at dance halls such as the Paseo Hall. And there were black organizations such as the NAACP, men’s groups like the Elks Lodge, and ladies’ groups like the 12 Charity Girls, who organized formal dances to raise funds for various institutions in the community.

Toby

10" 78-rpm recording of "Toby", a fox trot by Buster Moten and Eddie Barefield, performed by Bennie Moten and his Orchestra. Members include Count Basie, piano; Oran "Hot Lips” Page, trumpet; Walter Page, bass; Eddie Durham, guitar. Matrix and catalog number: B-10259-B.

The Wheezer: Souvenir Issue

Autographed program cover of The Wheezer: Souvenir Issue, with signatures of Bennie and Bus Moten, Eddie Durham, Oran Page, no date. Source: Ida Minturn.

South (Sur)

10" 78-rpm recording of "South (Sur)", a fox trot by Bennie Moten and Thamon Hayes, performed by Bennie Moten's Kansas City Orchestra. Matrix number: 42935; Catalog number: 24893-A.

South

10" 78-rpm recording of "South", an instrumental fox trot by Bennie Moten and Thamon Hayes, performed by Oran "Hot Lips" Page And His Band. Members include Don Stovall, Don Byas, Eddie Barefield, saxophones and clarinet; Oran "Hot Lips" Page, trumpet; Pete Johnson, piano; John Collins, guitar; Abe Bolar, bass; A. G. Godley, drums. Matrix number: 68335A; Catalog number: 18124 A.

She's No Trouble (Ella No Molesta)

10" 78-rpm recording of "She's No Trouble (Ella No Molesta)", a fox trot by Thamon Hayes, performed by Bennie Moten's Kansas City Orchestra. Matrix number: 42934; Catalog number: 24893-B.

Negro Musicians Association Incorporation Documents

Jackson County Court documents regarding the Decree of Incorporation of the Negro Musicians Association. Documents include the statement that the purpose is to "unite ... the musical profession for the better protection of its members," "to serve the public in furnishing music on all occasionans where it may be required," as well as listing members including Count Basie, Bennie Moten, and Leroy Berry.

Moten's Swing

10" 78-rpm recording of "Moten's Swing", an instrumental fox trot by Buster Moten and Bennie Moten, performed by Eddie Durham And His Band. Members include Buster Smith, Willard Brown, Lem C. Johnson, saxophones; Joe Keyes, trumpet; Conrad Frederick, piano; Eddie Durham, guitar; Averill Pollard, bass; Arthur Herbert, drums. Matrix number: 68337A; Catalog number: 18126 A.

Moten’s Swing

10" 78-rpm recording of "Moten’s Swing", a fox trot by Buster Moten and Bennie Moten, performed by Bennie Moten and his Orchestra. Members include Count Basie, piano; Oran "Hot Lips” Page, trumpet; Walter Page, bass; Eddie Durham, guitar. Matrix and catalog number: B-10259-A.