© 2024 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Celebrating the life and legacy of legendary Kansas City jazz singer Queen Bey

Kansas City jazz artist Queen Bey, in a black and white photo, looks straight into the camera.
American Jazz Museum

Legendary Kansas City jazz singer Queen Bey died last Monday. Her performances left an indelible mark on the city's jazz scene with her larger-than-life stage presence and stunning voice.

Legendary singer Queen Bey, who was officially recognized as Kansas City's ambassador of jazz, passed away last Monday.

She was known for her large repertoire of jazz and blues standards, and had shared the stage with legends like B.B. King and Erroll Garner during her career, among many others. She also performed in Broadway musicals and acted in films.

Kansas City jazz singer Millie Edwards told KCUR that Queen Bey's death is like "losing a huge piece of history."

"When she took the stage, she grabbed the audience and they went along for the ride, and they absolutely loved it. She was bigger than life on stage," Edwards said.

"She was personable and she was fun, and that was obvious. She was very intimate with the audience, but she allowed them to see who she was. She commanded the stage and she respected her musicians."

  • Millie Edwards, Kansas City jazz singer
  • Kevin Willmott, filmmaker and KU professor
Stay Connected
When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.
As Up To Date’s senior producer, I construct daily conversations that give our listeners context to the issues of our time. I strive to provide a platform that holds those in power accountable, while also spotlighting the voices of Kansas City’s creatives and visionaries that may otherwise go unheard. Email me at zach@kcur.org.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
Your donation helps keep nonprofit journalism free and available for everyone.