R.I.P. Joe McQueen
This blog post was originally going to be a plug for an upcoming show at Gracie’s featuring the Joe McQueen Quartet—with, of course, Utah saxophone extraordinaire, jazz legend and community pillar Joe McQueen at the center. Despite being 100 year old, this Ogden musician had been busy playing music for most of the seven decades he resided there, and this show was going to be one of several he’d played over the last few months. But on Saturday, Dec. 7, McQueen passed away after receiving treatment for intestinal cancer. McQueen was not only a prolific musician, but an actively religious man involved in many different parts of the spiritual community throughout the state. He is survived, then, not just by his wife Thelma McQueen, but by a whole community of jazz enthusiasts and friends, members of his band and those he’s taken under his generous and wise wing over the years, which includes longtime local radio host and station director at KUAA Bad Brad Wheeler. He leaves behind a legacy not just as Utah’s bona fide best jazz musician—one who played with the likes of Charlie Parker, Chet Baker and Duke Ellington when they rolled through town on the railroad in the heyday of jazz music—but also as the reason that Northern Utah clubs finally desegregated. As white club owners reached out to McQueen, trying to get the talented man to play, he only agreed to do it if they’d let in other black Utahns to watch him right alongside the white audience. They understandably gave in. For all this, it feels selfish to mourn the loss of one more show, the one that would have happened at Gracie’s this week. The man lived to be 100, and graced the people of this state with his music for most of his life and residence here. He gave more than enough of his music to us, and the fact that he had a lineup of upcoming shows just demonstrates how much he was willing to keep on giving.
Hip Hop Organics Fundraiser for Rose Park Brown Berets
Pay it forward this holiday season and enjoy some beats at the same time by heading over to Liquid Joe’s on Thursday and at the same time benefit the hardworking folks of the SLC Brown Berets. A stacked night of performances put on by local hip hop organizers SLC Hip Hop Organics will feature 11 performers, among them local The Secret of Mana (pictured right), an Iranian-American rapper whose melodic and no-nonsense style and mix of Farsi and English raps has got her spots opening for the likes of Ghostface Killah and more recently Biz Markie. The night will also feature prize giveaways, a table for EightyAce Hip Hop Network, handmade goods by The Trees Leaves, prints and tees by Tøda Escárzaga, and tarot readings by Jenn Ontai. All these tunes and goods will be good fun, but best of all and most importantly, it will all raise funds for the Brown Berets, a community organization that is currently seeking funds to continue their youth education efforts in Rose Park. Liquid Joe’s, 1249 E. 3300 South, 7 p.m., $8–$20, 21+, liquidjoes.net
3rd Annual Law Rock Salt Lake City
Who knew lawyers had time for anything besides the demanding world of law that they live in? Well, since one show in 2009, some musically-inclined law folk the world over have been forming bands and rocking out, all in the name of Law Rocks. Finding its way to the US in 2012, Law Rocks features bands made up of musically talented lawyers battling it out in a competitive “battle of the bands”-type showcase—chilling out and having fun, but in true lawyer fashion, still making it a competition. The shows always benefit a charity or local youth organization, and the upcoming Law Rocks showcase here in SLC is no different. The date at The State Room will be the third Law Rocks to happen here, and will benefit Rock Camp SLC, an annual camp that focuses on teaching girls, transgender and gender-expansive youth the ropes of not just playing instruments and playing rock music, being in a band. The organization is also involved in events and fundraisers for other groups year-round, and has become a staple in the music community the past few years. So come on out and see what the lawyers of SLC Law Rocks have to show for themselves, and support the very worthy Rock Camp SLC at the same time. The State Room, 638 S. State Street, 7 p.m., $15, 21+, thestateroompresents.com