the jazz of milton morris by Scot Young


we held our union
meetings upstairs
but downstairs
at the tap room
milton morris sold
kansas city
jazz and juice
friend of basie
parker and young

and during the prohibition
since both were illegal
he sold whiskey  and reefer
25 cents
for medicinal purposes
only

but it was the jazz
that hooked you
the blue haze
& cool saxophone
drifting down main
like a lonely lady
in a red dress
lingering
selecting
a slow song
on the last

jukebox
ever made.

10 Responses to “the jazz of milton morris by Scot Young”

  1. a great read
    very musical..

  2. nice.
    and lester young was tops.

  3. Linda Lerner Says:

    Very nice. I like the last image–

  4. jason hardung Says:

    this is awesome scot.

  5. Carter Monroe Says:

    Fine work here.

  6. I loved Milton’s! And I still miss the many nights I spent there. I always tried to ask Milt to play a record that I didn’t think he would have. Don’t think I ever stumped him.

    Thanks for doing this!

  7. Jonny Montoya Says:

    My name is Jon Montoya…my mom’s sister Shirley was married to Milton. I remember as a very young boy nights in the lounge…(not sitting at the bar of course)..listening watching and taking in the whole Miltons scene. I lived with Uncle Milty and Aunt Shirl at times and spent many hours with them. When I lived in Vegas (the old Vegas when the mob ran it, it was a hell of a lot better than today)..Uncle Milt and Aunt Shirl would come visit us in Vegas usually around their anniversary (Valentines Day). It’s sad on my last visit to see Home Depot covering the very spot that the Tap Room and entire Warner Plaza was. However it was great seeing the sign relocated in the Jazz museum. Let me know if anyone is reading this…and I can add more. They were a great part of my childhood in many positive ways. I loved both so very much and miss them to this day…I am now 61 living in California. And as Uncle Milty used to say at closing time, he’d put the flood lights on, blow a small whistle and yell….”Okay, EVERYONE Out of the Pool!!”

  8. Always interested in hearing more. Milton morris and the taproom will forever be oart ok kc history,,,,and what about the earlier clubs?

  9. Jonny Montoya Says:

    Jonny Montoya….I was just looking back and saw how you are keeping this website going. Very nice!!! Thank you so much. The note above regarding trying to stump Unlcel Milty on the records reminds me of a few other items. There was a sort of ante room (two doors) to get into the tavern. Above the door was written: “Through these portals pass the MOST”. Another sign he had was on the turntable: “Please, no requests. Like Man it’s free.” There were metal cut outs on the walls of musical instruments…I only remember the sax. I still have the green money he printed with the little guy blowing hard on a trumpet with one music note coming out his rear end. It is one of my few articles of keep sakes along with his various stickers and printed items when he ran for office “on the gaming ticket”. It would be nice to hear that someone gave a nice home to the many items that were in the tavern…especially the metal cut outs. My wife and I visited the Negro Baseball and Jazz Museums. There at the Jazz Museum was Miltons Tavern sign. I remember sitting on the step there in the museum and my eyes watered up…it was wonderful seeing the sign again after three decades. My wife took a picture of it and as a surprise for Christmas, she made a beautiful blow up of the sign and had it mounted in a frame. It hangs lovingly in our living room. There are two volumes printed within the last few years about Kansas City with before and after pictures. In volume one there is a picture of the buildings shortly after construction. The door that Miltons Tavern would open to is visible. The other building shows where La Louisians was to be, where my mom worked as a waitress. We lived for a short period upstairs from the eatery and I used to watch the car carriers unload Buicks across the street at the auto dealer. Thanks again, Jonny in California. By the way I saw pictures at the KC airport of the Hey hey club….Uncle Milty ran that as well as other digs before my time. Back then he would bring in artists like Count Basie. One year I went to see Ella and the Count at the Circle Star Theater in San Carlos CA (now gone).Uncle Milty asked me to give Basie a note. So when I got Ella to autograph an album of hers I had someone slip Mr Basie the note. He read it, smiled this huge grin and then looked up at me and gave me the thumbs up. Basie used to borrow money from Uncle Milty when he went through KC. The note basically: “Base, the slate is clean. Next time you hit KC, like stop by man and slip me some skin”. He smiled because the note wasn’t signed and he knew exactly who had dictated the note.
    I can still remember my Uncle Miltons greating….he would put out his hand to me say in a long stretched out phrase; “heyyy Jon-nee, whad-dah ya saaaaay? Give me some skin mannnn”

  10. Johnny
    Great memories–so cool. I remember when Milton ran for gov. and the bumper stickers I read the stories of the early clubs–what a time for sure. Also before mine–And every Sunday he ran an ad in the Star that read–All is forgiven, please come home–I believe it referred to the folks that wrote him bad checks…and yes whatever happened to the cutouts? I wonder too.
    scot

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