The Cecil McBee Band

Universally acknowledged as a masterful bassist with an authoritative sound and a thoughtful, original style, Cecil McBee is also highly regarded for his exceptional gifts as a composer. McBee formed his first band as a leader in 1973, a quintet which featured Hilton Ruiz on piano, Tex Allen on trumpet, John Stubblefield on tenor sax and Allan Nelson on drums, a quintet which featured McBee’s own compositions extensively.
 
Recording with a sextet at the New York jazz club Sweet Basil in August 1977, McBee’s band included Chico Freeman on reeds, Dennis Moorman on piano, Joe Gardner on trumpet, Steve McCall on drums, and Famoudou Don Moye on percussion. Two complete albums of music were released by Enja Records from this engagement, the groundbreaking recordings Music From the Source [1978] and Compassion [1979].
 
“Few groups today sound as fresh, generate as high an emotional charge, or leave as lasting an impression as McBee’s sextet,” Chris Albertson wrote upon the release of these recordings. “It is as if each member were a unique piece of a puzzle, carefully placed to complete precisely the breathtaking picture intended. The music is adventurous enough to satisfy any aural daredevil who has not completely lost his or her sense of beauty, yet all the basic jazz values have been preserved with due reverence.”
 
For more than five decades, McBee’s compositions have been consistently featured on the countless albums on which he appears as a sideman. In 1996, he re-established his former Quintet as a leader and began touring Europe. This music, together with many of his more recent compositions, was documented on the studio album Unspoken [released on Palmetto Records and available from Allmusic.com].
 
The latest incarnation of The Cecil McBee Band reconvened at the New York club Jazz Standard in September 2010. “His quintet, with which McBee has toured and recorded since 1996, leapfrogs generations,” Steve Dollar wrote in naming McBee’s new unit the “Top Live Show” in Time Out New York. “The mainstays are seasoned veterans like former Mwandishi trumpeter Eddie Henderson, venerable pianist George Cables, and the ace drummer Victor Lewis. The combo also features … tenor saxophonist Noah Preminger.”


Since those “landmark” appearances, McBee has become even more prolific as a composer and he is excited by the prospect of forming a new band to record a wealth of new tunes.
 

related links: 
www.palmetto-records.com
www.serecs.com
www.ascap.com
www.enjarecords.com
www.joelovano.com/saxsum.php
www.davidweissmusic.com


 

Other Bands

Cecil McBee has performed with almost every major group over the past six decades, including:

YUSUF LATEEF QUARTET
MILES DAVIS QUINTET
ALICE COLTRANE QUINTET
CHARLES LLOYD ORIGINAL QUARTET
CHET BAKER QUARTET
SAM RIVERS TRIO
SONNY ROLLINS QUARTET
JOE HENDERSON QUARTET
WAYNE SHORTER QUINTET
THE LEADERS  and many more.

Currently he is performing with:

THE COOKERS SEPTET 
(Billy Hart, drums; George Cables, piano; Donald Harrison, alto; Billy Harper, tenor; David Weiss, trumpet; Eddie Henderson, trumpet)

JOANNE BRACKEEN DUO

THE NEW YORK TRIO
(with Yosuke Yamashita, piano; Pheeroan akLaff, drums)

SAXOPHONE SUMMIT
(with Phil Markowitz, piano; Billy Hart, drums; Joe Lovano, Ravi Coltrane, and Dave Liebman, saxophones)


 

Discography

Cecil McBee SELECTED DISCOGRAPHY
 
AS A LEADER (all compositions by McBEE *):

Mutima (Strata-East Records, 1974):
  • “From Within”
  • “Voice of the 7th Angel”
  • “Life Waves”
  • “Mutima”
  • “A Feeling”
  • “Tulsa Black”
Music from the Source (ENJA Records,1978)
  • “Agnez (With Respect to Roy Haynes)”
  • “God Spirit”
  • “First Song in the Day”
Compassion (ENJA Records,1979)
  • “Pepe’s Samba” (*comp. Chico Freeman)
  • “Undercurrent”
  • “Compassion”
Alternate Spaces (INDIA NAVIGATION, 1979) 
  • “Alternate Spaces”
  • “Consequence”
  • “Come Sunrise”
  • “Sorta, Kinda Blue”
  • “Expression"
Flying Out (INDIA NAVIGATION, 1982)
  • “First Impression”
  • “Truth—A Path to Peace”
  • “Into a Fantasy”
  • “Flying Out”
  • “Blues on the Bottom"
Unspoken (PALMETTO Records,1997)
  • “Pantomime”
  • “Unspoken”
  • “Catfish”
  • “Sleeping Giant”
  • “Lucia”
  • “Inside Out”
  • “Slippin’ n’ Slidin’”
  • “Tight Squeeze"
AS A CO-LEADER

With THE COOKERS 
          (Billy Harper, David Weiss, Eddie Henderson, Craig Handy, George    
            Cables, and Billy Hart)
  • Warriors (JLP, 2010); includes McBee compositions:  “Ladybugg”, “Close to You Alone” and “U Phoria”
  • Cast the First Stone (Plus Loin Music, 2011); includes McBee composition:  “Peacemaker”
  • Believe (Motema Music, 2012); includes McBee compositions:  “Temptation(s)” and “Tight Squeeze”
  • Time and Time Again (Motema Music, 2014); includes McBee compositions:  “Slippin’ and Slidin’” and “Dance of the Invisible Nymph”                                
  • (Billy Harper, David Weiss, Eddie Henderson, Donald Harrison, George Cables, and Billy Hart)

With THE LEADERS 
         (Lester Bowie, Arthur Blythe, Chico Freeman, Kirk Lightsey, and    
          Famoudou Don Moye):

  • Mudfoot (Black Hawk, 1986); includes McBee composition:  “Song of Her”
  • Out Here Like This (Black Saint, 1987); includes McBee compositions:  “Portraits” and “Felicite”
  • Unforeseen Blessings (Black Saint, 1988); includes McBee compositions:  “Peacemaker” and “Lucia”
  • Heaven Dance (Sunnyside, 1989) — The Leaders Trio with Kirk Lightsey and Don Moye; includes McBee compositions:  “Cecil to Cecil” and “Little Big John”
  • Spirits Alike (Double Moon, 2007); includes McBee compositions:  “Lady Bugg” and “Consequence”
With MUHAL RICHARD ABRAMS:  
        Roots of Blue (RPR Records, 1986)

With ELVIN JONES and JOHN HICKS: 
        Power Trio
(Novus, 1990); includes McBee composition: 
        “‘D’ Bass-ic Blues”
 
AS A SIDEMAN:

With McCOY TYNER, Pharoah Sanders, David Murray, and Roy Haynes: 
         Blues for Coltrane:  A Tribute to John Coltrane (Impulse!, 1988):
         Grammy Winner:  Best instrumental performance, individual or group, Grammy Awards, 1988

With SAXOPHONE SUMMIT 
          (Dave Liebman, Joe Lovano, Ravi Coltrane, Phil Markowitz
           and Billy Hart):
  • Gathering of Spirits (Telarc, 2004)
  • Seraphic Light (Telarc, 2008); includes McBee composition:  “All About You”
  • Visitation (ArtistShare, 2014); includes McBee composition:  “Consequence”

With CHICO FREEMAN:

  • Morning Prayer (India Navigation, 1976)
  • Chico (India Navigation, 1977); “Moments” and “And All the World Moved…” co-composed by Freeman and McBee
  • Kings of Mali (India Navigation, 1978)The Outside Within (India Navigation, 1978); includes McBee composition:  “Undercurrent”
  • Spirit Sensitive (India Navigation, 1979); includes McBee composition:  “Close to You Alone”
  • Freeman & Freeman (Live) (India Navigation, 1981); includes McBee composition:  “Undercurrent”
  • Destiny’s Dance (Contemporary, 1982); includes McBee composition:  “Wilpan’s Walk”
  • The Pied Piper (Blackhawk, 1986); includes McBee composition:  “Blues on the Bottom”
  • Lord Riff and Me (recorded 1987; Whynot Records, 2001; Candid, 2010); includes McBee composition:  “Sneakin’ Peakin’”

With JACKIE McLEAN:

  • It’s Time! (Blue Note, 1964)
  • Action Action Action (Blue Note, 1964)
With ANDREW HILL
        Compulsion! (Blue Note, 1965)

With GRACHAN MONCUR III
       Some Other Stuff (Blue Note, 1964)

With Wayne Shorter:
  • Et Cetera (Blue Note, 1965)
  • Odyssey of Iska (Blue Note, 1970)

With The Original CHARLES LLOYD QUARTET

  • Dream Weaver (Atlantic, 1966)
  • Forest Flower (Atlantic, 1967); includes McBee composition:“Song of Her”
  • Charles Lloyd in Europe (Atlantic, 1968)
  • The Flowering (Atlantic, 1971); includes McBee composition:  “Wilpan’s”

With YUSEF LATEEF:

  • The Complete Yusef Lateef (Atlantic, 1967)
  • The Blue Yusef Lateef (Atlantic, 1968)
  • Yusef Lateef’s Detroit (Atlantic, 1969)
  • The Diverse Yusef Lateef (Atlantic, 1970)
With SAM RIVERS:
  • Dimensions & Extensions (Blue Note, 1967)
  • Streams (Impulse!, 1973)
  • Hues (Impulse!, 1973)

With PHAROAH SANDERS:

  • Izipho Zam (My Gifts) (Strata-East, 1969 [1973])
  • Jewels of Thought (Impulse!, 1969)
  • Deaf Dumb Blind (Impulse!, 1970)
  • Black Unity (Impulse!, 1971)
  • Thembi (Impulse!, 1971); includes McBee composition: “Love”
  • Live at the East (Impulse!, 1972)
  • Village of the Pharoahs (Impulse!, 1973)
  • Love in Us All (Impulse!, 1973)
With ALICE COLTRANE
       Journey in Satchidananda (Impulse!, 1970)

With CHARLES TOLLIVER:
  • Live at Slugs’, Volume I & II (Strata-East, recorded 1970; re-released as Mosaic Select Volume 20, 2008); includes McBee compositions:  “Wilpan’s” and “Felicite”Music Inc. (Strata-East, 1971)
  • With Love (Charles Tolliver Big Band) (Mosaic, 2007)
With ABDULLAH IBRAHIM:
  • African Space Program (Enja Records, 1973)
  • Banyana — Children of Africa (Enja Records, 1977)
  • Buddy Tate Meets Dollar Brand (Chiaroscuro Records, 1977)
  • African Marketplace (Elektra Records, 1980)
With GEORGE BOHANON:
        Boss: Bossa Nova (Workshop, 1962)

With PAUL WINTER
        Jazz Meets the Folk-Song (Columbia, 1963); includes McBee composition:  “Blue Mountain”; “We Shall Overcome” arranged by McBee

With DANNIE RICHMOND
       “In” Jazz for the Culture Set (Impulse!, 1965)

With ALMANAC:  
         Almanac (Improvising Artists, 1967)

With MARC LEVIN AND HiIS FREE UNIT
        The Dragon Suite (BYG, 1967)

With THE WYNTON KELLY TRIO with HANK MOBLEY
         Live at the Left Bank Jazz Society Baltimore, 1967
         (Fresh Sound Records, 2000)

With LEON THOMAS
         Spirits Known and Unknown (Flying Dutchman, 1969)

With ROY BROOKS
         The Free Slave (Muse, 1970 [1972]); includes McBee composition:  “Wilpan’s”

With MICHAEL WHITE
         The Land of Spirit and Light (Impulse!, 1973); “Lament (Mankind)”
         co-composed by White and McBee

With MICKEY TUCKER:
  • Sojourn (Xanadu, 1977)
  • Mister Mysterious (Muse, 1978)
With JAMES "BLOOD" ULMER:
        Revealing ([1977]; In & Out, 1990)

With JOHN KLEMMER
        Magic and Movement (Impulse!, 1974)

With PRINCE LASHA
         Inside Story (Enja, 1965 [1981])

With JOE CHAMBERS
         The Almoravid (Muse, 1974)

With WOODY SHAW:
  • The Moontrane (Muse, 1974)
  • Love Dance (Muse, 1975)
  • The Iron Men (with Anthony Braxton) (Muse, 1977 [1980])
With SONNY SIMMONS
         Burning Spirits (Contemporary, 1971)

With HAMPTON HAWES
          Live at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago (2 Vols. [1973], Enja, 1981/1989)

With LONNIE LISTON SMITH
         Expansions (Flying Dutchman, 1974)

With TED CURSON
         Blue Piccolo (WhyNot Records, 1976)

With LLOYD McNEILL
        Treasures (Baobab Records, 1976)

With CHARLES McPHERSON
         New Horizons (Xanadu, 1977)

With THE 360 DEGREE MUSIC EXPERIENCE
         In:Sanity (Black Saint, 1977)

With JOHNNY GRIFFIN
         Birds and Ballads (Galaxy Records, 1978)

With ARCHIE SHEPP
         Lady Bird (Denon, 1978)

With THE LOUIS HAYES GROUP
         Variety is the Spice (Gryphon, 1979)

With JOANNE BRACKEEN:
  • Snooze (Choice, 1975)
  • Havin’ Fun (Concord Jazz, 1985)
With AMINA CLAUDINE MYERS
        Salutes Bessie Smith (Leo, 1980)

With McCOY TYNER
          Quartets 4 X 4 (Milestone, 1980) includes McBee composition:  “Paradox”

With ART PEPPER
  • Winter Moon (Galaxy, 1980)
  • One September Afternoon (Galaxy, 1980) ; includes McBee composition:  “Close to You Alone”
With MaAL WaALDRON
         What It Is (Enja, 1981)

With CLIFFORD JORDAN
        Two Tenor Winner [with Junior Cook] (Criss Cross Jazz, 1984); includes McBee composition:  “Song of Her”

With CHET BAKER (with WARNE MARSH)
         Blues for a Reason (Criss Cross, [1984], 2011)

With BENNY GOLSON
        Time Speaks (Timeless, 1985)

With RAY ANDERSON
       Old Bottles New Wine (1985)

With KENNY BARRON
  • What If? (Enja Records, 1986)
  • Live at Fat Tuesdays (Enja Records, 1988)
With ANTHONY BRAXTON
          Eight (+3) Tristano Compositions, 1989: For Warne Marsh (hatArt, 1989)

With Stanley Cowell:
  • Equipoise (Galaxy, 1979); includes McBee composition:  “Lady Blue”
  • Close to You Alone (DIW, 1990); includes McBee compositions:  “Close to You Alone” and “‘D’ Bass-ic Blues”
With FREDDIE HUBBART and WOODY SHAW
        Double Take (Blue Note, 1986)

With THE BOB THIELE COLLECTIVE
        Sunrise Sunset (1990)

With ELVIN JONES:
  • When I Was at Aso-Mountain (Enja, 1990)
  • It Don’t Mean a Thing (Enja, 1993)
With DAVE LIEBMAN:
  • The Seasons (Soul Note, 1992)
  • John Coltrane’s Meditations (Arkadia Jazz, 1998)
  • The Elements: Water (Arkadia Jazz, 1998)
With TISZIJI MUNOZ:
  • Visiting This Planet (Anami Music, 1980s)
  • Presence of Joy (Anami Music, 1999)
  • Divine Radiance (Anami Music, 2003)
With VICTOR LEWIS
        Family Portrait (Audioquest, 1992)

With JOE MANERI
         Dahabenzapple (Hatology, 1993)

With MATT WILSON
          As Wave Follows Wave (Palmetto, 1996)

With HORACE TAPSCOTT
         The Dark Tree, Vol. 1 & 2 (hatOLOGY, [1989], 1999)

With RAPHE MALIK
         Storyline (Boxholder, 2000)

With YOSUKE YAMASHITA:
  • Sakura (Verve, 1990)
  • Kurdish Dance (Verve, 1993)
  • Dazzling Days (Verve, 1993)
  • Spider (Verve, 1996)
  • Fragments 1999 (Verve, 1999)
  • Delightful Contrast (Universal, 2011) 
With FALKNER EVANS:  
       Climbing the Gates (Consolidated Artists, 2006)

With ZBIGNIEF SEIFERT
        Man of the Light (Promising Music, 2010); includes McBee composition:  “Stillness”

With JOHN TCHCAI with GARRISON  FEWELL
        Tribal Ghost (NoBusiness Records, 2013)