Lonnie McFadden – Kansas City Jazz Musician Keeping the Good Times Rolling
Born and raised in Kansas City, MO, Blue Medicare Advantage member Lonnie McFadden is an incredibly talented jazz performer who sings, tap dances, and plays trumpet. See him live, and you’ll be blown away.
“I’m an unapologetic Kansas City jazz guy,” Lonnie explains. “I’m the product of growing up around Eddie Saunders, Clyde Bagby, David Daahound Williams, Carmel Jones, Orville “Biggie” Minor, Step Buddy, and Sonny Kenner.”
The 67-year-old is celebrated for his exuberant, multi-genre show style and performs consistently at a high energy level. “I don’t think I have any more energy than anybody else my age. I think what I do have is gratitude and enthusiasm,” Lonnie says.
Lonnie hails from a Kansas City jazz family, and at young age, music became instrumental in his life. His father, renowned tap dancer and musician Jimmy McFadden, had Lonnie, and his brother Ronald, in tap shoes before they were in kindergarten. The brothers also took piano lessons.
When he was seven, Lonnie had his first gig at the Muehlebach Hotel, alongside his father and brother. At age 14, Lonnie knew he wanted to be an entertainer – when he heard Clyde N’em and Her, a rhythm and blues band in their late teens. He recalls, “I had never heard anybody that young who was that good. I was listening to this guy sing, and the arrangement was so full that I was almost tearing up. It was the first time that music spoke to me.” At age 16, the band that gave him those goosebumps, also gave him the opportunity to follow his dreams and join as a trumpeter.
Flaps, shuffles, and boom boom boom
Lonnie has been entertaining for 51 years – and it never gets old. “I still remember my first gig. I still remember the first time I ever got paid. I still remember the first time I carried a PA system into a venue and set up to play. I still remember how excited I was. Today, when I walk up to the stage, that same feeling still happens,” Lonnie gushes.
Until most recently, Lonnie spent much of his career on the road. For decades, he and his brother travelled extensively as The McFadden Brothers, proudly representing the Kansas City jazz scene and playing festivals and shows around the world. They’ve shared the stage with the likes of Wayne Newton and Sammy Davis Jr. and they received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Jazz Museum in 2016 and Living Legends Awards from Tapology in 2017.
These days, you’ll find Lonnie closer to home, leading his own jazz ensemble in Kansas City. He’s the headliner at Lonnie’s Reno Club, a club named after him – where he performs every Friday and Saturday night. Located at the Ambassador Hotel, the club is owned and operated in partnership with Paul Cory and has an authentic KC vibe.
“When I’m on stage, I want us all to be on the same ride. Part of my goal every night – and I’m usually not too bad at it – is finding how to pull the whole room together”. Lonnie adds, “As an entertainer I’m always trying to figure out how I can make the evening enjoyable for everyone. When I’m playing a song, I’m paying attention to little nuances in the crowd. Are people talking? Are they listening? Are they engaged? Every night, I do everything I can to be a facilitator of fun.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City’s Blue Medicare Advantage includes both HMO and PPO plans with Medicare contracts. Enrollment in Blue Medicare Advantage depends on contract renewal.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. The HMO products are offered by Blue-Advantage Plus of Kansas City, Inc. and the PPO products are offered by Missouri Valley Life and Health Insurance Company, both independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, and wholly-owned subsidiaries of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City.