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Musicians honor late Kansas City jazz legends Ida McBeth, Ronald McFadden

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Posted at 9:55 PM, Mar 03, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Those that knew Ida McBeth said she was a woman who was born to sing. Those same folks say Ronald McFadden lived out every part of the word entertainer.

The two Kansas City music legends died within days of each other.

“The way in which Ida used her voice,” said Lee Langston, a jazz musician. “We were just wrapping our heads about Ronnie passing, and then Ida passed too."

The music community feels the loss of these performers, who had so much success.

Lonnie McFadden, the brother of Ronald, remembers what the sound of a good time was like with him.

“We did everything together — piano lessons, my father taught us both how to tap dance,” he said.

He says Ronnie tap danced like a jazz musician — he just rolled with it and excelled in everything.

“He was the choreographer, he sang, he played flute, alto saxophone,” McFadden said. “I lost my best friend.”

Charlie Williams was McBeth’s pianist.

“She was a very big deal,” he said. “She loved to sing, loved to perform. I would watch her expressions, she’d just throw her head back, cock her head back.”

Williams said she didn’t have any trouble filling a room.

“She packed it out,” he said. “I’m sad, but I’m happy she was able to share her gift in the city.”

A gift that was passed on to the younger generations.

Langston honors the influence the two music legends had in his career.

“There’s a reason why your hair stands up on your arm,” Langton said. “Never forget to call those that laid the path before you.”