Howie McGhee

McGhee 1Although not a household name in jazz, Howard (Howie) McGhee (1918-1987) is one of the most important transitional trumpet players in early bebop. Approximately the same age as Dizzy Gillespie, McGhee was active in the Harlem jam session scene in the early 1940’s. He bridges that gap between late swing and bebop

Howie McGhee - Episode 1

In the mid 1940’s he spent part of his career in Los Angeles recording with the great tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins. McGhee’s playing is very similar to Gillespie’s because they were both influenced by many of the same swing era trumpet players. McGhee’s recordings from 1945 to 1950 are outstanding examples of classic bebop: fiery solos that often extend into the upper ranges of the instrument, fast technical runs, and the use of more sophisticated harmony.
CompositionArtistYear
Heckler’s HopRoy Eldridge Orchestra1937
Salt PeanutsDizzy Gillespie Quintet1947
Bean SoupHowie McGhee/Coleman Hawkins1945
Bean StalkingHowie McGhee/Coleman Hawkins1945
Sportsman's HopHowie McGhee/Coleman Hawkins1945
Mop MopHowie McGhee1945
Trumpet at TempoHowie McGhee1946

Howie McGhee - Episode 2

Most of the recordings featured here were recorded in New York and featured the finest young bop musicians in the genre. Howie had a beautiful sound and was also a great interpreter of ballads. Listen to the recording of Howie with Fats Navarro from 1948. You can hear the influence of Howie and Dizzy in Fats’ trumpet playing! The last recordings on the podcast are from a series referred to as the “Savoy Sessions” which took place between 1948 and 1952. Although Howie was actively playing through the late 1970’s, his best work comes from the late 1940’s and early 1950’s.
CompositionArtistYear
DorothyHowie McGhee1947
SurrenderHowie McGhee1947
YouHowie McGhee1947
Double TalkFats Navarro/Howie McGhee1948
HackensackHoward McGheeca. 1950
How High the MoonHoward McGheeca. 1950