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Joe Miquelon, Celebration of Life

Updated: Jul 4, 2021


Joe Miquelon was a beloved musician, and his Celebration of Life will present several special performances by many of Joe’s closest musical associates. This evening of fun and music in honor of Joe is presented by his son, Bob Pulliam, and Joe’s brothers, Matt, and Brad Miquelon. The event is hosted by David Basse.

You may have known Joe as the smiling, play-anything, try-anything musician who may very well have played a supporting role in one of your favorite area bands. It doesn’t matter what style of music, Joe made it his business to cover it all, from Rasta to Monk.

He always made it look easy. The practice and hard work of being a freelance musician for over 40 years paid off. A private instructor of piano, jazz theory, improvisation, and tenor saxophone, Joe had the right sound because he knew how to listen.

He devoted his life to the music. He was renowned for his piano and saxophone playing in bands such as Jim Sweeney and The Jumpshotz, The Zoo, The Blue Riddim Band, New Riddim, Boko Maru, Tony DiPardo’s KC Chiefs Endzone Pack Band, The Max Barry Band, The Elders, and The KC Aces. He shared the stage with Bonnie Raitt, Albert King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Huey Lewis, Ida McBeth, Kevin Mahogany, Parliament Funkadelic, organist Mike Finnigan, Danny Cox, and many others.

Yet Joe’s passion was teaching music. He taught hundreds of students over more than 3 decades as a private instructor and recently joined The Kansas City Jazz Academy. In 2017, Joe wrote and released a highly praised piano instruction book entitled,The Beginner’s Emergency Handbook for Jazz Piano and Theory.Copies of the book will be on hand at Knuckleheads, and proceeds for the book and the event will benefit The Kansas City Jazz Academy.

Joe’s passion led him to teach each weekend at The Kansas City Jazz Academy, held on Saturdays at the American Jazz Museum. He worked with the younger set alongside trumpeter Stanton Kessler and drummer Clarence Smith, the Director of this vital and necessary program.

In June of 2021, The Duke Ellington family recognized Joe Miquelon 's contribution and support in the Duke Ellington Kansas City Music Education outreach programs run by Clarence Smith. Joe was one of the unsung heroes of Music Education. He touched many lives of many young and enthusiastic musicians. Joe was not only a great musician, composer, and educator, he was a great human being. Tom Alexios—Music Education outreach for the Duke Ellington family.

Joe was President of Jodyrock Music and he dreamed of success with his piano instruction book. He studied music theory and composition at Tulsa University and graduated in 1980. He toured internationally with The Elders and was well-known as a member of Ida McBeth’s ensemble.

Joe recorded original jazz compositions with the Max Barry Band (Max is another Ida McBeth regular) and he recorded Flesh Covered Mazda with Boko Maru, a groovin’ tune that can be heard on Joe’s Reverb Nation page. He was a member of Boko Maru as well as several other popular bands.

He was a storyteller. Vocalist Jay MowBray, of the KC Aces recalled Joe’s Jerry Garcia story: “Riding in a car from the airport, with Jerry Garcia in front, Joe in the back. A stoned Jerry kept going up and down with the power windows. After a while he turned to the backseat and said to no one in particular, ‘Far freakin’ out, man.’”

Our hearts are broken tonight. Our beautiful friend has left this world.

His great musical gifts, his genuine warmth and gentle spirit will always be a part of us.

He never hesitated to tell his friends, "I love you." And we love you too, Joe.

Karen Swope

Joseph Pierre Miquelon III, 62, of Kansas City, MO, passed away peacefully in his sleep on March 5, 2021. Joe was born on March 26, 1958, in Chillicothe, MO to Joseph Pierre Miquelon II and Julie (Bradford) Miquelon. He was an Eagle Scout and a member of Lambda Chi Fraternity at Tulsa University.

Knuckleheads Wednesday, July 21st, 2021, Joe Miquelon, Celebration of Life

Doors open 6pm, donations accepted to The Kansas City Jazz Academy

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