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Howard McGhee (March 6, 1918 – July 17, 1987) was one of the first bebop jazz trumpeters, with Dizzy Gillespie, Fats Navarro and Idrees Sulieman. He was known for his fast fingers and very high notes. What is generally not known is the influence that he had on younger hard bop trumpeters, with Fats Navarro.
Rochester, New York, 1976
|Born||March 6, 1918|
Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
|Died||July 17, 1987 (aged 69)|
New York City, New York
|Associated acts||Lionel Hampton, Andy Kirk, Count Basie|
Howard McGhee was raised in Detroit, Michigan. During his career, he played in bands led by Lionel Hampton, Andy Kirk, Count Basie and Charlie Barnet. He was in a club listening to the radio when he first heard Parker and was one of the early adopters of the new style, a fact that was disapproved by older musicians like Kid Ory.
In 1946–47, some record sessions for the new label Dial were organized at Hollywood with Charlie Parker and the Howard McGhee combo. The first was held on July 29, 1946. The musicians were Charlie Parker, Howard McGhee, Jimmy Bunn , Bob Kesterson, and Roy Porter. With Parker close to a nervous breakdown, he played "Max is Making Wax", "Lover Man", and "The Gypsy".
McGhee continued to work as a sideman for Parker. He played on titles like "Relaxin' at Camarillo", "Cheers", "Carvin the Bird" and "Stupendous". Around this time, McGhee "was a central figure in the Los Angeles bebop world, taking part in numerous concerts, recording, and even running a night club for a time". His stay in California was cut short because of racial prejudice, particularly vicious towards McGhee as half of a mixed-race couple.
Drug problems sidelined McGhee for much of the 1950s, but he resurfaced in the 1960s, appearing in many George Wein productions. His career sputtered again in the mid-1960s and he did not record again until 1976. He led one of three big jazz bands trying to succeed in New York in the late 1960s. While the band did not survive, a recording was released in the mid-1970s.
He taught music through the 1970s, both in classrooms and at his apartment in midtown Manhattan and instructed musicians like Charlie Rouse in music theory. He was as much an accomplished composer-arranger as he was a performer.
McGhee died on July 17, 1987 at the age of 69, a memorial service was held for him on July 24, 1987
- 1946–7 Trumpet at Tempo (Dial) released 1996
- 1948 Howard McGhee and Milt Jackson (Savoy)
- 1950 Howard McGhee, Vol. 1 (Blue Note)
- 1951 Night Music
- 1952 South Pacific Jazz
- 1952 The McGhee-Navarro Sextet with Fats Navarro
- 1952 Jazz Goes to the Battlefront Vol. 1
- 1952 Jazz Goes to the Battlefront Vol. 2
- 1953 Howard McGhee Vol. 2
- 1955 The Return of Howard McGhee (Bethlehem)
- 1955 That Bop Thing
- 1956 Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries (Bethlehem)
- 1960 Music from the Connection (Felsted)
- 1961 Dusty Blue (Bethlehem)
- 1961 Together Again!!!! (Contemporary) with Teddy Edwards
- 1961 Maggie's Back in Town!! (Contemporary)
- 1961 Shades of Blue
- 1961 The Sharp Edge (Fontana)
- 1962 Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out (United Artists)
- 1962 House Warmin'! (Argo)
- 1966 Cookin' Time
- 1976 Here Comes Freddie (Sonet) with Illinois Jacquet
- 1976 Just Be There (SteepleChase) with Horace Parlan, Kenny Clarke
- 1978 Live at Emerson's
- 1977 Jazz Brothers (Jazzcraft)
- 1979 Home Run (Jazzcraft) with Benny Bailey
- 1979 Young at Heart (Storyville) with Teddy Edwards
- 1979 Wise in Time (Storyville) with Teddy Edwards
With Lorez Alexandria
- Deep Roots (Argo, 1962)
With Johnny Hartman
With Georgie Auld
- Rainbow Mist (Delmark, 1944 ) compilation of Apollo recordings
With Tubby Hayes
- 1957 Changing the Jazz at Buckingham Palace, Tubby Hayes/Dizzy Reece
- 1957 The Swinging Giant Vol. 2
With Coleman Hawkins
- Disorder at the Border (Spotlite, 1952 )
With Chubby Jackson
- 1950 Chubby Jackson All Star Big Band
- 1969 Chubby Jackson Sextet and Big Band
With James Moody
- 1959 Hey! It's James Moody
- 1961 Cookin' the Blues (Argo)
With André Previn
- 1946 André Previn All-Stars
- 1975 Previn at Sunset
With Mel Tormé
- 1956 George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, Frances Faye/Mel Tormé
- 1957 At the Crescendo
- 1957 Songs for Any Taste
- 1956 Way Out Wardell, Wardell Gray
- 1960 Griff and Lock, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis / Johnny Griffin
- 1960 The Music from "The Connection" Freddie Redd
- 1962 Good Old Zoot, Zoot Sims
- 1962 Johnny Hodges with Billy Strayhorn and the Orchestra, Johnny Hodges
- 1962 The Gerry Mulligan Quartet, Gerry Mulligan
- 1963 At Newport '63, Joe Williams
- 1965 The Jazz Singer, Eddie Jefferson
- 1965 Charlie Parker 10th Memorial Concert 3/27/65, Charlie Parker
- 1967 Autumn in New York, Sonny Stitt
- 1968 Boppin' & Burnin' , Don Patterson
- 1990 California Boppin' 1947, Sonny Criss
- 1991 Trio, Quartet, and Orchestra, Slim Gaillard
- 1993 1940–1942, Andy Kirk & His Clouds of Joy
- 1994 Red Top, Gene Ammons
- 1994 Jazz at the Philharmonic, Billie Holiday
- 1995 Early Quintets, Phil Woods
- 1996 First Herd, Woody Herman
- 1996 1944–1945, Wynonie Harris
- Owens, Thomas (1996). Bebop. Los Angeles Berkeley: Oxford University Press. p. 108.
- Barron, Stephanie (2000). Reading California : art, image, and identity, 1900-2000. Los Angeles Berkeley: Los Angeles County Museum of Art University of California Press. ISBN 0520227670.
- Palmer, Robert (July 18, 1987). "Howard McGhee, 69, Is Dead; A Trumpeter and Composer". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
- "Howard McGhee | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved July 24, 2017.