Marc Rice is Professor of Musicology at Truman State University. He teaches courses on many areas of music history but has a particular focus on jazz. His research focus is on the jazz history of the Midwest, in particular the Kansas City area.
Kansas City’s Bennie Moten: Bandleader and Black Entrepreneur
The Bennie Moten Orchestra was the most financially successful Black dance band in the west during the 1920s. Its accomplishments can be attributed to the business acumen of their leader. Bennie Moten formed relationships with business and social leaders, leased his own dance hall, recruited the best musicians and arrangers, used the local press, and worked with record companies to secure his band’s dominance. This presentation examines the business side of running a Black dance band in the 1920s, and will also uncover the social and economic network of Black Kansas City and Moten’s place within this community.