Celebration of Joe McQueen’s life, legacy set for Saturday in Ogden

Joe McQueen. Undated photo: Facebook/Brad Wheeler

OGDEN, Utah, Dec. 18, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — A celebration of Joe McQueen’s life and legacy will be held Saturday in Ogden.

The jazz saxophonist died on Dec. 6 at the age of 100. The event, open to all, will be at 2 p.m. at The Monarch, at 455 25th St.

“The event will include a service by Joe’s church — the 2nd Baptist Church of Ogden — followed by a selection of music performed by the Joe McQueen Quartet and others that have played with Joe over the years,” a Facebook announcement says.

“More details will be posted here as they are decided. All that knew and loved Joe are invited to attend!”

That link also includes an RSVP request, to help organizers with planning.

Joe McQueen plays for an appreciative audience in 2016. Photo: Gephardt Daily

Known for his gritty voice and his smooth alto sax, McQueen came to Ogden in 1945 to play two weeks, and ended up staying 74 years.

McQueen is credited with integrating clubs when he demanded people of all races be admitted before he accepted a gig.

McQueen was also the first area musician to form a racially integrated band, he told Gephardt Daily in a 2016 interview.

McQueen was honored many times, not only for his jazz stylings, but for his role in Utah history. In 2002, Gov. Mike Leavitt declared a Joe McQueen Day. For McQueen’s 100th birthday on May 30, he was again honored by the Utah Legislature.

Joe McQueen sits in chairs that will soon be occupied by fans prior to a concert. Photo: Gephardt Daily

In the 2016 interview, McQueen said he was sometimes embarrassed by the endless attention, which he said he could not understand.

“That’s the thing what gets me,” he said. “I don’t do a damn thing but play a horn. That’s all.”

To read a full tribute story on McQueen, click here.

A video from the 2016 interview can be viewed below.

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