Kansas City’s long-standing Queen of Jazz and Blues, Ida McBeth passed away on March 1st, 2023 in her hometown. A Celebration of Life honoring her memory will be held on Saturday, March 11th at the Gem Theater at 1pm. Memorial services will follow on Monday, March 13th at 11am, at the Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church, 2310 E Linwood Blvd in Kansas City, MO. Visitation begins at 10am.
Ida was introduced to great vocalists like Nancy Wilson, Gladys Knight and Sarah Vaughan by her mother. She sang with church choirs, and then dance bands, and turned professional at age sixteen. Uncertain about a career in music, Ida enrolled at KU to pursue a nursing degree. Thankfully for us, her desire to sing outweighed teaching and she moved to Los Angeles in 1973 to follow her dream. She immediately landed a gig at a nightclub in Bel Air and the story began.
Back in Kansas City in 1984, the International Jazz Hall of Fame named her “Best Female Jazz Vocalist.” Mayor Richard Berkeley proclaimed April 27th, 1990 “Ida McBeth’s 20th Anniversary Day.” She performed at numerous prestigious events including singing the national anthem at Arrowhead Stadium and performing at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC.
For the past quarter century, the vocalist was featured prominently at the American Jazz Museum. Fans will remember standing-room-only performances at Zhivago, Harlings Upstairs, The Point, Jardines, and many of Kansas City’s finest jazz & blues spots.
Throughout her long career, Ida McBeth gave much of her time and talent to various charities and community services. She supported the American Cancer Society, Nova Center for autistic children and the Stop Violence Coalition.
With five albums to her credit, critics have lauded Ida McBeth’s magnificent talent. The New York Times applauded her “technique, taste and sass… her precise intuition, guts and raw confidence.”
A one of a kind vocal talent, Ida McBeth will be greatly missed.