In the Spring of 2014, a group of students at the University of Missouri–Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance were tasked to examine the extensive Warren Durrett archived collection. Warren Durrett (1920–2002) was a well-known and well-loved bandleader in the Kansas City area for 42 years. He also ran his own jingles business, Durrett Productions, for 16 of those years.
Housed in the LaBudde Special Collections and the Marr Sound Archives at the Miller Nichols Library are Durrett’s photographs, correspondence, detailed financial logs, and a wide number of recordings, as well as Durrett's personal account of the chronology of his band from 1945-1986. These remained relatively untouched in the years following his death. Through their archival research, the students discovered the legacy of a Kansas City icon and created this online exhibit to further chronicle Durrett’s life, music, and contributions to the community.
This exhibit continues to be a work-in-progress. There remain many questions unanswered, particularly in the identification of individuals in pictures and recordings. If you are able to fill in any blanks found in this project, feel free to help enhance this site by contacting the library.
Exhibit contributors: Christina Butera, Derek Jenkins, Kenton Lanier, Anthony Rodgers, Justin Sextro, Andrew Stinson
Special thanks go to Dr. Sarah Tyrrell, Stuart Hinds, Chuck Haddix, and everyone else in the LaBudde Special Collections and Marr Sound Archives for their guidance and assistance throughout the creation of this exhibit.
To Jan Durrett and Richard Wilson: thank you for meeting with us and sharing your cherished memories of the gifted man you called husband and friend, respectively.