Cecil McBee

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Cecil McBee
Cecil McBee, The Cookers at Nice 2016
Cecil McBee, The Cookers at Nice 2016
Background information
Born (1935-05-19) May 19, 1935 (age 87)
Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
Instrument(s)Double bass
LabelsStrata-East, Enja, India Navigation, Palmetto

Cecil McBee (born May 19, 1935)[1] is an American jazz bassist. He has recorded as a leader only a handful of times since the 1970s, but has contributed as a sideman to a number of jazz albums.


Early life and career[edit]

McBee was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States.[1] He studied clarinet at school, but switched to bass at the age of 17, and began playing in local nightclubs.[1] After gaining a music degree from Ohio Central State University, McBee spent two years in the U.S. Army, during which time he conducted the band at Fort Knox.[1] In 1959, he played with Dinah Washington, and in 1962 he moved to Detroit, Michigan, where he worked with Paul Winter's folk-rock ensemble between 1963 and 1964.[1]

New York[edit]

His jazz career began to take off in the mid-1960s, after he moved to New York, when he began playing and recording with a number of significant musicians including Miles Davis, Andrew Hill, Sam Rivers, Jackie McLean (1964), Wayne Shorter (1965–66), Charles Lloyd (1966), Yusef Lateef (1967–69), Keith Jarrett, Freddie Hubbard and Woody Shaw (1986), and Alice Coltrane (1969–72).[1]

Later career[edit]

In the 2000s, McBee unsuccessfully sued a Japanese company that opened a chain of stores under his name.[2]

He was an artist in residence at Harvard from 2010 to 2011.[3] He teaches at the New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts.




As leader/co-leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With George Adams

With Ray Anderson

With Chet Baker

With Bill Barron

With Kenny Barron

With the Bob Thiele Collective

  • Sunrise Sunset (Red Baron, 1990)

With Joanne Brackeen

With Dollar Brand

  • African Space Program (Enja, 1973)

With Anthony Braxton

With Roy Brooks

With Joe Chambers

With Alice Coltrane

With Junior Cook

With Stanley Cowell

With Ted Curson

With Ricky Ford

With Chico Freeman

With Hal Galper

With Johnny Griffin

With Louis Hayes

With Roy Haynes

With Andrew Hill

With Freddie Hubbard and Woody Shaw

With Elvin Jones

With Clifford Jordan

With John Klemmer

With Prince Lasha

With Yusef Lateef

With The Leaders

With Dave Liebman

With Charles Lloyd

With Raphe Malik

  • Storyline (Boxholder, 1999) – with Cody Moffett

With Joe Maneri

With Jackie McLean

With Lloyd McNeill

  • Treasures (1976)

With Charles McPherson

With Grachan Moncur III

With Tisziji Munoz

  • Rendezvous With Now (India Navigation, 1978)
  • Visiting This Planet (Anami Music, 1988)
  • Presence of Joy (Anami Music, 1999)
  • Divine Radiance (Anami Music, 2003)

With Amina Claudine Myers

With Art Pepper

With Dannie Richmond

With Sam Rivers

With Charlie Rouse

With Pharoah Sanders

With various artists

With Saxophone Summit

  • Gathering of Spirits (Telarch, 2004)

With Zbigniew Seifert

  • Man of the Light (MPS Records, 1977)

With Woody Shaw

With Archie Shepp

With Wayne Shorter

With Sonny Simmons

With Lonnie Liston Smith

With Buddy Tate and Dollar Brand

With Leon Thomas

With Horace Tapscott

With Charles Tolliver

With Mickey Tucker

With McCoy Tyner

With James "Blood" Ulmer

With Mal Waldron

With Michael White

With Paul Winter

  • Jazz Meets the Folk-Song (1963)

With Yōsuke Yamashita

  • Sakura (Verve, 1990)
  • Kurdish Dance (Verve, 1993)
  • Dazzling Days (Verve, 1993)
  • Fragments 1999 (Verve, 1999)
  • Spider (Verve, 1996)
  • Delightful Contrast (Universal, 2011)

With Denny Zeitlin

  • Cathexis (Columbia, 1963)

With Norman Connors

  • Dance of Magic (Sony Music Entertainment, 1972)


  1. ^ a b c d e f Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Who's Who of Jazz (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 264. ISBN 0-85112-580-8.
  2. ^ "Cecil Mcbee, Plaintiff, Appellant, v. Delica Co., Ltd., Defendant, Appellee, 417 F.3d 107 (1st Cir. 2005)". Law.justia.com. Retrieved July 29, 2021.
  3. ^ "Harvard Jazz Bands". Harvardjazz.fas.harvard.edu. Retrieved July 29, 2021.

External links[edit]