Kansas City Jazz and Gangsters

3 credits


Music - Courses for Non-Majors
College of Arts and Science

Focus on the social, political and artistic elements that led Kansas City to be known as the “Paris of the Plains” in the 1920s and 30s. Rooted in corruption, Kansas City developed an economic infrastructure built around tourism that rivaled any other city during the Great Depression. Tourism boomed in Kansas City because of its “wide open” policy on alcohol, narcotics and gambling – creating a highly lucrative metropolis during a time other cities were experiencing financial pain. Students will study the rise of Kansas City’s mob boss, Tom Pendergast, his policies and practices and their impact on the musical style created during this era – Kansas City Jazz. Assignments for this class will consist of readings on the history of Kansas City, individual research on key US events including Prohibition and The Great Depression, and listening to recorded examples of the Kansas City Jazz style.