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Howard McGhee

During 1945-1949, Howard McGhee was one of the finest trumpeters in jazz, an exciting performer with a sound of his own, who among the young bop players, ranked at the top with Dizzy Gillespie and Fats Navarro. The "missing link" between Roy Eldridge and Fats Navarro (Navarro influenced Clifford Brown who influenced most of the post-1955 trumpeters), McGhee originally played clarinet and tenor, not taking up trumpet until he was 17. He worked in territory bands, was with Lionel Hampton in 1941, and then joined Andy Kirk (1941-1942), being featured on "McGhee Special." McGhee participated in the fabled bop sessions at Minton's Playhouse and Monroe's Uptown House, modernizing his style away from Roy Eldridge and towards Dizzy Gillespie. He was with Charlie Barnet (1942-1943), returned to Kirk (where he sat next to Fats Navarro in the trumpet section), and had brief stints with Georgie Auld and Count Basie before traveling to California with Coleman Hawkins in 1945; their concise recordings of swing-to-bop transitional music (including "Stuffy," "Rifftide," and "Hollywood Stampede") are classic. McGhee stayed in California into 1947, playing with Jazz at the Philharmonic, recording and gigging with Charlie Parker (including the ill-fated "Lover Man" date) and having an influence on young players out on the Coast. His Dial sessions were among the most exciting recordings of his career, and back in New York he recorded for Savoy and had a historic meeting on record with Navarro in 1948 on Blue Note.

Eventually, drugs began to affect McGhee's career. He traveled on a USO tour during the Korean War, recording in Guam. McGhee also had sessions for Bethlehem (1955-1956) but was inactive during much of the '50s. He recorded some strong dates for Felsted, Bethlehem, Contemporary, and Black Lion during 1960-1961, and on a quartet outing for United Artists (1962), but (with the exception of a Hep big band date in 1966) was largely off records again until 1976. He had a final burst of activity during 1976-1979 for Sonet, SteepleChase, Jazzcraft, Zim, and Storyville, but by then, McGhee was largely forgotten and few knew about his link to Fats Navarro and Clifford Brown. ~ Scott Yanow
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: West Coast 1945-1947

1. Intro/Night Mist (Theme)

2. A Night In Tunisia

3. Rockin' Chair

4. Dark Eyes

5. Don't Blame Me

6. Howard's Blues

7. Killin' Jive (Nagasaki)

8. The Man I Love (Version 1)

9. Mop Mop

10. Intersection (A.K.A. Innersection)

11. Stardust

12. Lifestream

13. Night Mist

14. Hoggin'

15. Sweet Potato

16. Blues A La King

17. Ornithology

18. Body And Soul

19. The Man I Love (Version 2)

x

Track List: Essential Jazz Masters

1. Ittapnna

2. I'll Remember April

3. Jarm

4. Lo-Flame

5. Fuguetta

6. Futurity

7. Tranquillity

8. Shabozz

9. Goodbye

10. McGhee Special

11. Donnellon Square

12. Fluid Drive

13. Lo-Flame (Alternate Take)

14. Jarm (Alternate Take)

15. Maciendo

x

Track List: Maggie

Disc 1

1. Merry Life

2. Short Life

3. Talk Of The Town

4. Bass C Jam [1]

5. Bass C Jam (Master) [2]

6. Down Home

7. Sweet And Lovely

8. Fiesta

9. I'm In The Mood For Love

10. Belle From Bunnycock (1)

11. Belle From Bunnycock (Master) (2)

12. Flip Lip

13. The Man I Love

14. The Last Word

Disc 2

1. Medley: Royal Garden Blues / Mood Indigo

2. St. Louis Blues

3. 12th Street Rag

4. Stormy Weather

5. Perdido

6. Man With AHorn

7. Stompin' At The Savoy

8. Lady Be Good

9. Stardust

10. How High The Moon

11. Don't Blame Me

12. Body And Soul

13. Harvest Time

x

Track List: Maggie: The Savoy Sessions

1. Merry Lee

2. Short Life

3. The Talk Of The Town

4. Bass C Jam

5. Down Home

6. Sweet And Lovely

7. Fiesta

8. I'm In The Mood For Love

9. Belle From Bunnycock

10. Flip Lip

11. The Man I Love

12. The Last Word

13. Medley: Royal Garden Blues/Mood Indigo/St. Louis Blues

14. One O'Clock Jump

15. Stormy Weather

16. The Man With A Horn

17. Stompin' At The Savoy

18. Lady Be Good

19. Stardust

20. How High The Moon

21. Don't Blame Me

22. Body And Soul

23. Harvest Time

x

Track List: Howard McGhee On Dial - The Complete Sessions (1945-47)

1. Intersection (Feat. Teddy Edwards)

2. Lifestream

3. Mop Mop

4. Stardust

5. Trumpet At Tempo

6. Thermodynamics

7. Dialated Pupils (Take 1)

8. Dialated Pupils (Take 2)

9. Midnight At Mintons (Feat. Dodo Marmarosa)

10. Up In Dodo's Room (Take 1)

11. Up In Dodo's Room (Take 2)

12. High Wind In Hollywood

13. Dorothy (Feat. James Moody)

14. Night Mist (Take 1)

15. Night Mist (Take 2)

16. Coolie-Rini (Feat. Hank Jones)

17. Night Music (Feat. Milt Jackson)

18. Turnip Blood (Take 1)

19. Turnip Blood (Take 2)

20. Surrender (Feat. Ray Brown)

21. Sleepwalker Boogie

22. Stop Time Blues

23. You

x

Track List: Jazzbrothers

1. In There

2. One For George

3. Island Mood

4. Frisky

5. Driftin'

6. Queen's

7. Search

8. When Sonny Gets Blue

9. Island Mood

10. Frisky

x

Track List: Maggie's Back In Town

1. Demon Chase

2. Willow Weep For Me

3. Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise

4. Sunset Eyes

5. Maggie's Back In Town

6. Summertime

7. Brownie Speaks

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