"Kansas City, for these men and many others, was home base. For years it had been a wide-open city, thanks to the power of local gangsters and the corruption of boss Tom Pendergast’s regime and in that time the city had become a hotbed of thrilling bandstand creativity. By 1941, however, Pengergast had been fitted for a prison suit and the vibrant glare of K.C. nightlife was in decline. Now the music was starting to drift away from the city, flowing west, north, and east with the musicians. These players had known no Depression in Kansas City, no lack of work. Throughout the late 1920s and the 1930s, they had been free to play, compete, and party around the clock. In that boomtown for jazz, mother lodes of stayle and gushers of swing were mined and brought in - if not nightly, then with enough consistency to make way for a newly textured pressure on rhythm, a Southwestern swing that celebrated the soul, as well as the coos, the calls, the cries, and the lamentations of the flesh, in pulsive time."
Stanley Crouch, Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker (Harper, $27.99)