|Decades:||1960s 1980s 2000s|
5 November 1914, Los Angeles, California, USA, d. 27 December 2000, Los Angeles, California, USA. Starting out on banjo, McVea played in his fathers band before he reached his teenage years. In the late 20s, he began playing reed instruments, eventually concentrating on tenor saxophone. In the early 30s, after graduating from high school, he turned professional and worked with a number of bands, including that led by Charlie Echols. In 1936, he was with Eddie Barefield and, after a brief spell leading his own unit, joined Lionel Hampton in 1940. With Hampton he mostly played baritone saxophone. After a short stint with Snub Mosley, he became interested in new developments in jazz and worked with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. McVea was also featured at an early Jazz At The Philharmonic concert. Despite his interest in bop, McVea appreciated current popular tastes, and his R&B single, Open The Door, Richard, a massive hit in 1946, brought...