Tony: Matt Otto And Kansas City’s Superman Effect

Saxophonist Matt Otto moved to Kansas City from Los Angeles last year and has become nothing less than a local sensation in that short time.

Today, Kansas City’s premiere Jazz blog Plastic Sax describes Matt Otto as Kansas City’s premier jazz artist.

I’ve heard Otto play quite a few times and he’s obviously extremely talented. But I think another phenomenon is at work. Otto is making Kansas City’s “Superman Effect” work for him.

Allow me to explain:

Born Kal-El on the planet Krypton, before being rocketed to Earth as an infant by his scientist father Jor-El, moments before Krypton’s destruction — Superman’s superhuman power comes from this solar system’s yellow sun. In much the same way, with all respect due, so many artists come to Kansas City and experience widespread acclaim simply because this town isn’t accustomed to major league talent. In a city where a talentless d-bag like David Cook is considered a star; musical expertise in this small burg is hard to come by — Make no mistake, Matto Otto is one of the most talented people currently playing sax in Kansas City. Then again, that title doesn’t really mean much.

The same goes for so many other local endeavors:

Zach Greinke is a superstar in Kansas City. But for the most part he’s a bright spot on a perennially mediocre team.

Again, David Cook passes for local mainstream musical talent though his throaty routine has been quickly forgotten by everybody else.

Sadly, the phenomenon of short-lived Kansas City greatness goes all the way back to the days of Whizzo The Clown who never really got his shot.

As for all of the other hopefuls in this town, the real measure of success is leaving KC to wide acclaim or at least a boatload of money like the really successful people do.

Tony Botello
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