Cecil McBee

Decades Active: 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s


19 May 1935, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA. A full-toned bass player who creates rich, singing phrases in a wide range of contemporary jazz contexts, McBee studied clarinet at school, but switched to bass at the age of 17, playing in local nightclubs. He gained a degree in music from Ohio Central State University, then spent two years in the army, conducting the band at Fort Knox. Moving to Detroit in 1962, he worked with Paul Winter (1963-64), then went to New York and played with Jackie McLean (1964), Wayne Shorter (1965-66), Charles Lloyd (1966), Yusef Lateef (1967-69) and Alice Coltrane (1969-72).

McBee established his own group in 1975, but, as one of the most in-demand sidemen in jazz, has continued to work with others, including Freddie Hubbard, Grachan Moncur III, Miles Davis, Bobby Hutcherson, Charles Tolliver, Pharoah Sanders, Lonnie Liston Smith, Sonny Rollins, Michael White, JoAnne Brackeen, Horace Tapscott, Anthony Braxton, Abdullah...

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