Kansas City Jazz: A Pictorial Tour

August 29th, 2006


photo courtesy  Charles Goodwin/Driggs Collection

George E. Lee Singing Novelty Orchestra, Kansas City, 1924


“His domineering personality stifled creativity and held back the band musically, which in turn caused a constant turnover of personnel. ‘He [Lee] changed men so many times, man, half of Kansas City was on there [in the band],’ alto saxophonist Herman Walder reflected. ‘He used to call himself a big shot; he’d fine his sister. He was pretty overbearing…He was a different kind of cat altogether from Bennie Moten.'”

– Chuck Haddix and Frank Driggs


,by The George E. Lee Singing Novelty Orchestra




photo  courtesy Johnny Coon/Driggs Collection

Coon-Sanders Nighthawks, Congress Hotel, Chicago, c. 1924 – 25

Left to right:  John Thiell, tenor sax; Carleton Coon, drums; Floyd Estep, first alto sax; Joe Sanders, piano/vocals; Harold Thiell, alto sax; Hank Jones, banjo; Joe Richolson, trumpet; Pop Estep, tuba; Rex Downing, trombone.


“The Coon-Sanders band became extremely popular at the Muehlebach Hotel through radio broadcasts.  They became the first Kansas City band to achieve national popularity.”

– Chuck Haddix and Frank Driggs


Night Hawk Blues , by the Coon-Sanders Nighthawks

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