Howard McGhee (tp), Bennie Green (tb), Teddy Edwards, Roland Alexander, Pepper Adams (saxes), Tommy Flanagan, Phineas Newborn Jr. (p), Leroy Vinnegar, Ray Brown, Ron Carter (b), Shelly Manne, Ed Thigpen, Walter Bolden (d)
Reference: FSRCD 679
Bar code: 8427328606790
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A contemporary of Dizzy Gillespie, Howard McGhee (1918-1987) left an indelible mark on the history of modern jazz as it developed in the 1940s. He was the first important post-swing-style (i.e., bebop) trumpeter after Gillespie himself. Despite the fact that in 1949 he had won first place in the trumpet category of the Down Beat Readers Poll, he fell into a decline that kept him in almost total obscurity through the 1950s. It was a period that was probably necessary for McGhee to achieve real musical maturity.
Then in 1959, in a remarkable comeback, he began an extended stay with James Moodys band, and in the next two years recorded, as leader, the three albums included here, one for Bethlehem and the other two for Contemporary. They proved he had paid his dues and learned well. The frenzy of old was muted and his most precious giftmelodic originalitywas brought to the fore.
McGhee said I need for people to know me again. Now Im nearer to my horn than I ever was before. The passage of time has somewhat dimmed the luster of his name, but his vital, imaginative work on these dates is that of a truly great player, not an obscure talent deserving of wider recognition.