Note(s)(b Tulsa, OK, 6 March 1918; d New York, 17 July 1987). American trumpeter and composer. He grew up in Oklahoma, and played clarinet and tenor saxophone before taking up trumpet in 1935; he lost an eye in a childhood accident and thereafter nearly always wore dark glasses to hide the facial deformity. After working with territory bands in the Mid- and Northwest in the late 1930s he joined Lionel Hampton (September 1941), then played as a principal soloist with Andy Kirk (c January - August 1942), whose band recorded McGhee Special (originally written for McGhee’s own band in 1940). He continued in big bands with Charlie Barnet (August 1942 - January 1943, March - August 1943), Kirk (February 1943; December 1943 for recordings only; February - June 1944), Count Basie (deputizing from late November to early December 1943), Georgie Auld (from June 1944), and Billy Eckstine (deputizing in August and December 1944). At the end of 1944 he joined Coleman Hawkins’s quintet and in January 1945 traveled to Los Angeles, where he worked with Hawkins until April. McGhee remained in California for two years, co-leading a group with Teddy Edwards from mid-1945 to early 1946 and then forming an octet that included Edwards, Charlie Parker, Sonny Criss, Bob Kesterson, and Roy Porter. He appeared, but did not play, in the film The Crimson Canary (1945; his part on the soundtrack is ghosted by a lesser player), recorded How High the Moon with Jazz at the Philharmonic (JATP), took part in Parker’s recording sessions for Lover Man (originally issued under McGhee’s name) and Relaxin’ at Camarillo, and was a featured soloist at Gene Norman’s Just Jazz concert in 1947. In 1947 McGhee joined the JATP touring group, and thereafter toured frequently and recorded prolifically as the leader of his own groups, with such sidemen as James Moody, Milt Jackson, Hank Jones, Ray Brown, and J. C. Heard. He worked briefly with Chubby Jackson in April 1948, took a sextet including Jimmy and Percy Heath to the Festival International de Jazz in Paris the following month, and performed and recorded with Machito in spring 1949. By the end of the decade he was one of the most highly regarded musicians in the bop movement, and he was named “best trumpeter” by Down Beat in 1949. From late 1951 to early 1952 he participated in a USO tour of the Pacific and Far East with Oscar Pettiford. Although he worked occasionally with Parker in Boston and in 1953 recorded as the leader of a group that included Horace Silver and Tal Farlow, during the remainder of the 1950s he was inactive on account of problems resulting from his addiction to heroin. However, in 1960 he joined Woody Herman, and thereafter worked frequently, recording with Edwards as a co-leader and with his own quartet (with Phineas Newborn, Jr., Leroy Vinnegar, and Shelly Manne), performing with Moody in Los Angeles, and briefly joining Duke Ellington (all 1961). In 1963 he appeared at the Newport Jazz Festival. He formed a big band in the mid-1960s, and participated in jazz services at St. Peter’s Lutheran church in New York into the 1980s, as documented in the film Shepherd of the Night Flock (1977). From the 1970s he also appeared regularly at European festivals. McGhee had a thin tone and an agile style, which he traced to his early familiarity with the clarinet. He was one of the few trumpeters to become fluent in the bop style during the 1940s. While he was not quite a match for Gillespie or Navarro in creativity and dexterity, at his best he came close, as may be gathered from confusion in liner notes to reissues over the identification of soloists on Double Talk: almost certainly Navarro plays the first 32 bars, McGhee has the next 32, and then the two men continue in this order for alternating segments, variously 8 and 16 bars long. He also wrote several pieces for his own groups, among them Dorothy and Night Mist.
Table of ContentsPage numbers here indicate page numbers for "Read Online" interface. Page numbers listed on transcripts may differ.
Tape 1 Side 1...pp. 1-37
Tape 1 Side 2...pp. 37-77
Tape 2 Side 1...pp. 78-114
Tape 2 Side 2...pp. 114-147
Tape 3 Side 1...pp. 148-170
Tape 3 Side 2...pp. 170-191
Tape 3 Side 1...pp. 191-213
Tape 3 Side 2...pp. 213-247
Organization NameRutgers University. Institute of Jazz Studies, Rutgers University. Institute of Jazz Studies
RightsThe Rutgers University Institute of Jazz Studies (IJS) promotes the use of its collections, and strives to protect the integrity of its materials. We offer digital reproductions of IJS materials subject to U.S. copyright law and other legal obligations.
NOTICE OF WARNING CONCERNING COPYRIGHT RESTRICTIONS
The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, US Code) governs the reproduction of copyrighted material.
Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specific conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not "to be used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement.
Materials viewed by patrons online or supplied to patrons online are reference copies. Our supply of copies does not constitute copyright permission for further uses and is not an authorization for any further uses involving reproduction, distribution, display, performance, or creation of derivative works, including their use in publications and web sites. It’s the patron’s responsibility to obtain permissions that may be required to use works for purposes other than private study, scholarship, or research, or in excess of fair use.