Artist’s Sax Sculptures Ready to Soar Above New KCI Terminal
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) – Among the art installations for the new terminal under construction at Kansas City International Airport is a tribute to the city’s jazz history – and one of its greatest icons.
“Jazz Birds”, created by Willie Cole, features dozens of saxophones designed to form avian figures, a nod to music legend Charlie “Bird” Parker.
Cole, originally from New Jersey, grew up inspired by Parker and other jazz greats.
“I lived Charlie,” Cole said. “I grew up as a jazz fan since I was little.”
Cole has previously created art from musical instruments, including assembling sculptures from Yamaha guitars for a show called “No Strings.” The use of saxophones was a first, even if the curves and the reeds of the instruments seemed to marry perfectly the contours and the beaks of the birds.
“It’s like magic,” Cole said. “When it’s been done, it’s a static thing, but when you put that beak on, you hear those birds chirping.”
BAC Musical Instruments, a factory just down from Cole’s workspace at the Boone Theater, supplied 200 saxophones for various prototypes and finished products. Company owner Mike Corrigan helped Cole strategically remove components and attach instruments to each other.
“What we did was visual jazz, in the heart of Kansas City’s jazz district,” Corrigan said. “Anyone going through Kansas City Airport will have no choice but to connect Kansas City to Jazz.”
The sculptures will hang above a concessions area in Concourse B of the new terminal.
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