Bennie Moten Orchestra

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Photograph of Bennie Moten's Orchestra posed outside. Pictured left to right: are Jimmy Rushing, Jack Washington, Woodie Walder, Count Basie, Leroy Berry, Bus Moten, Eddie Durham, Willie McWashington, Vernon Page, Thamon Hayes, Harlan Leonard, Ed Lewis, Booker Washington, Bennie Moten.

Circa 1931 photograph of the Bennie Moten Orchestra posed in front of the Fairyland Park stage at the southeast corner of Prospect Avenue and 75th Street.

Photograph of Bennie Moten, standing in second row at right, and his band pose with their tour bus in front of a music shop.

Panoramic photograph of the bands of the Musicians Protective Union Local 627, assembled for the annual Battle of the Bands at Paseo Hall, followed by a parade to the Musicians Association Building at 1823 Highland Avenue, where this picture was taken.

Photograph of Bennie Moten's Orchestra on a stage with their instruments. Pictured, bottom row from left: Mack Washington, drums; Thamon Hayes, trombone; Ed Lewis, 1st trumpet; Paul Webster, 2nd trumpet; Leroy "Bus" Berry, banjo; Harlem Leonard, 1st saxophone; Woodie Waldon, 2nd saxophone; Jack Washington, 3rd saxophone.

Photograph of Bennie Moten’s Orchestra at Pearl Theatre in Philadelphia, PA, 1931.

Benny Moten Band

When people think of Kansas City jazz in the 1920s and ‘30s, certain images come to mind: political corruption, gangster activity, and music that catered to and benefited from this type of environment. But vice and corruption were not the only elements that made the city a center of innovative music. The black middle and upper classes also supported the music and the musicians, especially at dance halls such as the Paseo Hall. And there were black organizations such as the NAACP, men’s groups like the Elks Lodge, and ladies’ groups like the 12 Charity Girls, who organized formal dances to raise funds for various institutions in the community.

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