Jack McVea

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Jack McVea (November 5, 1914 – December 27, 2000[1]) was an American swing, blues, and rhythm and blues woodwind player; he played clarinet and tenor and baritone saxophone. His father was the noted banjoist Satchel McVea, and banjo was Jack McVea's first instrument.


Born John Vivian McVea in Los Angeles, California, and playing jazz in Los Angeles for several years, he joined Lionel Hampton's orchestra in 1940. From 1944 on he mostly worked as a leader. Perhaps his most impressive performance as a sideman in those years was at the first Jazz at the Philharmonic concert in 1944. From 1966 till his retirement in the 1980s he led a group which played traditional jazz at Disneyland, called "The Royal Street Bachelors" in New Orleans Square. The good looking "bachelors" as they thought, created their band's name after performing for the first time on Royal Street. The trio consists of the following men- Jack Mcvea,Herb Gordy, and Harold Grant.[1]

McVea was leader of the Black & White Records studio band and was responsible for coming up with the musical riff for the words "Open the Door, Richard".[1] Ralph Bass got him to record it in 1946 and it became immensely popular, entering the national charts the following year, and was recorded by many other artists.[2][3]

He is also known for his playing on T-Bone Walker's "Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just As Bad)." McVea also played on 1945's "Slim's Jam" by Slim Gaillard alongside Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.


As leader/co-leader

Most of Jack McVea's recordings are available on Blue Moon Records in Barcelona, Spain; Ace Records in London, England; and Delmark Records in Chicago. All are available in the U.S. Blue Moon covers the Black & White years (including Open the Door, Richard), Delmark his sessions on Apollo Records, and Ace his four years with Combo Records. Ace's Fortissimo! CD contains several alternate takes.

  • Blue Moon 6031 The Complete Recordings, Vol. 1 (1944-1945) 2002
  • Blue Moon 6032 The Complete Recordings, Vol. 2 (1945-1946) 2002
  • Blue Moon 6033 The Complete Recordings, Vol. 3 (1946-1947) 2002
  • Blue Moon 6034 The Complete Recordings, Vol. 4 (1947-1952) 2002
  • Blue Monk (1978) 2009
  • Delmark 756 McVoutie's Central Avenue Blues (1945 Apollo recordings) 2002
  • Ace 781 Honk! Honk! Honk! (contains 9 Combo sides, 1954-1957) 2000
  • Ace 1246 Fortissimo! The Combo Recordings (1954-1957) 2010
  • Happy Day "The Complete Recordings, Vol.7 (2001)" 2011

As sideman[edit]

With B.B. King


  1. ^ a b c Thedeadrockstarsclub.com - accessed December 2009
  2. ^ Shaw, Arnold (1978). Honkers and Shouters. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company. p. 226. ISBN 0-02-061740-2. 
  3. ^ RJ Smith, "Richard Speaks! Chasing a Tune from the Chitlin Circuit to the Mormon Tabernacle", p. 75–89 in Eric Weisbard, ed., This is Pop, Harvard University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-674-01321-2 (cloth), ISBN 0-674-01344-1 (paper).

External links[edit]