Jazzman Joe McQueen Plays In Brigham City

Feb 16, 2018


In 1945, an up-and-coming jazz tenor saxophonist named Joe McQueen made a stop in Ogden, to play a weeks worth of gigs. But after his band leader kept the band's earnings and abandoned the members, McQueen decided to stay and build up his reputation in the jazz scene. 

McQueen started playing with jazz legends such as Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington and Chet Baker. He also became the first African-American to regularly play gigs in the area.

Today he is 98 years old and continues to play gigs around Utah.

“He’s got a real strong sense of what he wants, he’s a natural-born leader. I mean even at 98, he just commands the band,” Ryan Conger said. 

Conger has been playing the Hammond Organ in the Joe McQueen Quartet for many years, and has grown to know McQueen personally.

“He’s just a fun, complicated but real character to be around,”  he said.

The Joe McQueen Quartet will be playing at the Brigham City Arts Center this Friday at 7:30 PM.