Jazz Musician, Bandleader. He was one of the early performers that established and defined the Kansas City jazz style. Though not an exceptional piano player, he was a good businessman, good natured, generous, and well liked by his men. A band named the Blue Devils was strong competition for Moten's band, so he recruited members of the band to play in his. One of those members he recruited was William Basie ("Count Basie"), in 1929. The Bennie Moten Orchestra made nearly one hundred recordings for the Okey and Victor labels. In 1935, Moten's band went to Denver, Colorado to play an engagement at the Rainbow Ballroom, while their leader stayed in Kansas City to have his tonsils removed. What should have been a routine operation went tragically awry, and Moten died on the operating table. Some accounts say the surgeon's knife slipped and severed the jugular vein. There is an Ira Moten b. 1877 d. 1956, and his wife Rebecca Moten b. 1882 d. 1943 in this cemetery also. Fellow Jazz musician Charlie Parker is buried in Lincoln Cemetery, which is about 10 blocks North on Blue Ridge from this cemetery.
Bio by: Bill Walker
"Renowned Jazz Pianist, Band Leader and Recording Artist".