Jazz legend Joe McQueen spices Black History Month concert in Ogden

Feb 7 2014 - 6:57am

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Ogden's legendary sax player, Joe McQueen, was headliner at Ogden-Weber Tech College's Black History Month event, "Move and Groove." 020514 (NANCY VAN VALKENBURG/Standard-Examiner)
Children at Ogden-Weber Tech College's "Move and Grove" event, a Black History Month celebration, danced to the music of the Changing Lanes Experience.  020514 (NANCY VAN VALKENBURG/Standard-Examiner)
Lively music at  Ogden-Weber Tech College's Black History Month celebration had audience members tapping their toes and dancing in the aisles. 020514 (NANCY VAN VALKENBURG/Standard-Examiner)
Ogden's legendary jazz sax player, Joe McQueen, with band mates from The Next Generation Jazz Band, headlined at Ogden-Weber Tech College's Black History Month event, "Move and Groove." 020514 (NANCY VAN VALKENBURG/Standard-Examiner)
Ogden's legendary jazz sax player, Joe McQueen, with band mates from The Next Generation Jazz Band, was headliner at Ogden-Weber Tech College's Black History Month event, "Move and Groove." 020514 (NANCY VAN VALKENBURG/Standard-Examiner)
Ogden's legendary sax player, Joe McQueen, was headliner at Ogden-Weber Tech College's Black History Month event, "Move and Groove." 020514 (NANCY VAN VALKENBURG/Standard-Examiner)
Children at Ogden-Weber Tech College's "Move and Grove" event, a Black History Month celebration, danced to the music of the Changing Lanes Experience.  020514 (NANCY VAN VALKENBURG/Standard-Examiner)
Lively music at  Ogden-Weber Tech College's Black History Month celebration had audience members tapping their toes and dancing in the aisles. 020514 (NANCY VAN VALKENBURG/Standard-Examiner)
Ogden's legendary jazz sax player, Joe McQueen, with band mates from The Next Generation Jazz Band, headlined at Ogden-Weber Tech College's Black History Month event, "Move and Groove." 020514 (NANCY VAN VALKENBURG/Standard-Examiner)
Ogden's legendary jazz sax player, Joe McQueen, with band mates from The Next Generation Jazz Band, was headliner at Ogden-Weber Tech College's Black History Month event, "Move and Groove." 020514 (NANCY VAN VALKENBURG/Standard-Examiner)

OGDEN -- Ogden-Weber Tech College celebrated Black History Month with a concert by local legend Joe McQueen, Ogden's longtime claim to jazz fame.

"I've been here so doggone long," said McQueen, who turns 95 in May. "I came in 1945 and planned to stay two weeks. Well, It's been a long two weeks."

Wednesday night, sax player McQueen appeared with his new group, The Next Generation Jazz Band. The Ogden High School Collaborators, a step team, took the floor next. Wrapping up the 90-minute show was the Changing Lanes Experience, a Salt Lake City band that got the crowd jumping with high-energy pop cover tunes.

"We're a small college but we pack a big punch," said Mac McCullough, Ogden-Weber Tech College's diversity coordinator. "And we know how to put on a show."

More than 100 guests ate cake and listened to the program, titled "Move and Groove." Except for young children doing interpretive dance in front of the stage, most of the "moves" were confined to toe tapping, seat swaying and applause. The "grooves" appeared to be far more widespread. McQueen drew in old fans, many of them anxious to shake his hand and share memories. But he also earned new musical admirers.

"The whole program was inspiring and encouraging," said Albertha Roach, 39, of Ogden. "I loved the talent, and I love Joe McQueen. I am amazed he is still able to play the sax so good at his age. I'd be out of breath."

Jake Skeen, 22, of Clearfield, came to see McQueen.

"I've seen him before, but never like this, with a band," said Skeen, a guitarist who has played at the Wine Cellar and Craftburger, among other Ogden venues.

"I try to watch as much live music as I can. Joe's been around so long. I saw him in a documentary, and he talked about how long he's been here, his career and his music. It's amazing, how long he's been able to make his music a career, and to do it in Ogden."

Trevor Elliott was there with several of his Venture Academy classmates.

"My school is doing a project on Joe McQueen," said Trevor, 16, of Huntsville. "We're making a timeline of his life. I never knew about him before. I thought his music was awesome. It was great jazz music. I will be giving my all to the Joe McQueen project."

Narshae King, 19, Ogden, came to support her sister, one of the three step dancers in the Collaborators.

"They were great," she said. "And I liked the last band, too, and the cake and the prizes. Joe McQueen was really good. I had never heard him before. I like jazz. I was happy to celebrate here, and black history is a good thing to celebrate."

McCullough said he was happy with the size of the crowd, and its multi-generational composition.

"I wanted us as a college to do something for the community as a whole, not a segment of it but the entire community," he said. "I'm hoping people leave thinking 'Wow, there was a song from my generation,' because they covered it all. The college goes out of its way to make sure we best represent the population of students here on our campus."

The college held its first Hispanic Heritage event in October. McCullough said he hopes the community understands Ogden-Weber Tech's commitment to celebrating and supporting diversity. 

"Every year we want to push the limits to do unique and different things to bring the community together," he said, of the Black History Month event, a longtime tradition. "It's important to do this every year so people understand that Black History Month is American history month,"

Contact reporter Nancy Van Valkenburg at 801-625-4275 or nvan@standard.net. Follow her on Twitter at @SE_NancyVanV.

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