Youth Jazz Fellows … play original compositions and iconic selections from the jazz music canon, get paid for live concerts, and release professional studio recordings each season. Get involved!

Kansas City Area Youth Jazz

THE LEON BRADY ENSEMBLE

Named for the iconic Kansas City music educator, Leon A. Brady.

Mr. Burnett with Mr. Brady prior to a spring concert by the original Kansas City Youth Jazz program.

Leon Brady (above right) is an educator and professional percussionist who earned Bachelor and Masters Degrees in Music Education from Tennessee State University. He started his career in Kansas City in 1959, at Northeast Junior High and later moved to Sumner High School where he taught marching band, orchestra and jazz band and earned many awards for excellence. From 1976 to 2000, he owned and operated Brady & Sons Music Company & Studio. In 2000, he founded Kansas City Youth Jazz and was its Musical Director until 2011. Today Leon instructs percussion students, both privately and in groups at the Brady Percussion Academy, where he has developed a unique program for drum lines and drum set students as young as four-years-old. 

Mr. Brady has also performed with many national and internationally recognized musicians over the years. While serving in the US Air Force, he performed regularly with John Williams and Frank Hitner, and later toured and recorded with Ray Charles. He has also performed with Max Roach, Clark Terry, George Salisbury, Marilyn Maye, Grover Washington, Carmel Jones, George Duke, John Park and many others. Mr. Brady was inducted into the “Jazz Walk of Fame” in Kansas City during a formal ceremony and gala concert in 2019.

2021 LEON BRADY ENSEMBLE FELLOWS

Mr. Brady was inducted in the Jazz Walk of Fame at 18th & Vine.

PIANO: Ari Staggs

GUITAR: Jess Glennon

BASS: Jordan Faught

DRUMS: Maurice Butler

PERCUSSION: Brett Carter

TRUMPET + FLUGELHORN: Kenji Penniman

TRUMPET + FLUGELHORN: Carson Krop

ALTO SAXOPHONE: Mateo Navarro

ALTO SAXOPHONE: Daniel Gardner

TENOR SAXOPHONE: Joshua Rivera

TROMBONE + TUBA: Asa Martin

REHEARSALS

3pm to 5pm : The Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts

ENSEMBLE STAFF

Rev. Willie Thornton
Associate Director + Composer + Recording Engineer

David Cunningham
Associate Director + Composer

Dr. Arthur White,
2021 Composer-In-Residence

NOTE: Ensemble tribute names are used with expressed permission.


THE BILL CRAIN ENSEMBLE

Named for the great musician, recording engineer, and composer, Bill Crain.

Bill Crain Group performing at The American Jazz Museum’s “Blue Room” working jazz club exhibit.

Bill R. Crain was the founder/owner/operator of BRC Audio Productions and the founder of IAEA, and his distinguished career included recording engineering, music performance, education, and composition. Bill engineered countless music albums and recorded and produced dozens of musical compositions and arrangements for radio, TV, and film. Bill also proved to be an influential and innovative educator, having written and instituted the jazz studies program at UCM as well as IAEA’s Audio Engineering Arts certificate program – both producing highly successful graduates. As a professional woodwind player, Bill performed with famous acts including the Glenn Miller Orchestra, The Temptations, and Gladys Knight, led his own small Jazz ensembles, and served as musical director of Kansas City’s prestigious Trilogy Big Band.

Bill most recently served as the director of the IAEA program, recording engineer and managing member of BRC Audio Productions, Inc., and the Musical Director and Engineer of Kansas City Area Youth Jazz. Bill received his Bachelor of Arts in Music Education and Masters of Arts in Music Composition, with focuses on theory and conducting, at California State University at Chico; and completed his ABD focusing on commercial woodwinds and conducting, in the Doctor of Arts program at Ball State University.  

2021 BILL CRAIN ENSEMBLE FELLOWS

BRC Audio Productions, Studio A prior to auditions.

PIANO: Parker Woolworth

BASS: Ari Staggs

DRUMS: Nathan Oldham

TRUMPET + FLUGELHORN: Sam Panico

TRUMPET + FLUGELHORN: Kiersten Glass

ALTO SAXOPHONE: Henry Scamurra

TENOR SAXOPHONE: Carter Beucher

TROMBONE: Henry Fears

BASS TROMBONE + TUBA: Patricia Loving

REHEARSALS

5:30p to 7:30p : BRC Audio Productions

ENSEMBLE STAFF

Christopher Burnett
Associate Director + Composer

William Crain
Recording Engineer + Album Producer

Dr. Arthur White,
2021 Composer-In-Residence

NOTE: Ensemble tribute names are used with expressed permission.