Crossroads Music Fest: Green Lady Lounge

This Saturday, The Crossroads district will host one of the most expansive and eclectic festivals in the city. Featuring seven stages and acts ranging from country to jazz, from pop rock to psych, The Crossroads Music Fest is a tradition as wedded to Kansas City as barbeque. Entering its 11th year, the festival supports both local musicians and 90.1–our own community radio.

Each of the seven stages offers something great. But I’m very excited for the performances at Green Lady Lounge. Featuring two long sets (by Molly Hammer Quartet and Organ Jazz Trio, respectively), Green Lady Lounge will be filled with some wonderful jazz. Whether it’s Molly Hammer’s smooth and silky voice diffusing across high-stepping arrangements or Organ Jazz Trio’s heated and splitting tonal threads, the venue will offer music for both the jazz aficionado and neophyte alike.

Molly Hammer has been a jazz singer staple in Kansas City for the past decade. Her voice has soulful glint and mellifluousness to it. Equally at home creating atmospheric textures as she is jittering through quick switches, Molly Hammer’s voice can be as arrestingly beautiful as it can be playful. The jazz singer has the incredible ability to match a song’s tone whatever it may be without seemingly much effort or affectation–a feat that is near impossible with the many modes in jazz and contemporary music on the whole. Molly Hammer’s range is definitely impressive, almost as impressive as her voice itself.

Organ Jazz Trio mixes the naturally hot tones of the organ with swift and light percussion and minimal guitar. The three instruments work with each other to bring out the best of each other and create song after song of incendiary jazz. That the instruments come together does not negate the distinct tones they bring to the trio’s songs.

First and foremost, the organ gives its washes to each track. Funky and textured, the organ anchors each song. Behind it, the percussion keeps the pace fast. Sticking to rims and bells, the drums snap the Organ Jazz Trio’s songs to its slick backbone. Under these two, the guitar finds the spaces in each song to fill with its rounded tone. Cooler than the organ and mellower than the drums, the guitar acts as a counterpoint that gives the trio’s sound a depth.

Each stage of the Crossroads Music Fest will be undoubtedly great. This Saturday, so many local bands (and a few not so local bands) will flood the Crossroads district. The jazz happening at Green Lady Lounge is just a taste of the music that will be there. If jazz is your thing, then Organ Jazz Trio and Molly Hammer Quartet are not to be missed. If jazz is not (yet) your thing, then Organ Jazz Trio and Molly Hammer Quartet are (still) not to be missed.

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