Sometimes you stumble into something wonderful, and that's what happened to my wife and me this past May after we visited a restaurant along 39th Street West in Kansas City, Missouri (the KU Medical Center is right across the street from this dining and shopping district). We had come to 39th Street West to hear […]

Sometimes you stumble into something wonderful, and that's what happened to my wife and me this past May after we visited a restaurant along 39th Street West in Kansas City, Missouri (the KU Medical Center is right across the street from this dining and shopping district).
We had come to 39th Street West to hear some jazz music (we thought) while enjoying some fine Cajun food at Jazz: a Louisiana Kitchen. It turns out that a bluegrass band, Old Sound, was playing on the night of our visit. That was okay with us. We like bluegrass music and have been to Winfield for the Walnut Valley Festival more than a few times. Incidentally, we discovered that two of the band's members grew up in Winfield but now call Kansas City home.
So after our spicy Cajun meal (be sure to pay attention to the small pepper symbol on the menu next to extra-spicy items), we decided to take a walk into the funky, fun, and inviting neighborhoods that surround 39th Street West.
While out strolling in no particular direction, we heard what sounded like jazz and subsequently followed our ears down to Prospero's Books, where a Latin jazz band was playing 'salsa en la calle' (translation: salsa in the street). We both like Latin jazz a lot and listen to the music regularly on Kjazz out of Long Beach, California (www.jazzandblues.org, if you're interested).
Anyway, it was a fun, unexpected bonus for the night. After the band finished their set, we wandered further down 39th Street West and talked, briefly, with several other musicians who were putting their instruments away. Irish and Scottish were at least two of the styles played by these other musicians. A little further onward, a wandering female troubadour let us pet the cat she carried on her shoulder.
This place definitely has some good vibes, and we discovered that this is a regular part of the scene every third Friday night. It's a night of live music outside of a diverse array of shops and restaurants, which stay open late.
It's just a fun place to be in case you find yourself in the Kansas City area on some third Friday evening.
This Friday, August 17 will be another third Friday, featuring live music on the streets of 39th Street West, weather-permitting.