Steve McCall (drummer)

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Steve McCall
Born(1933-09-30)September 30, 1933
Chicago, Illinois, United States
DiedMay 24, 1989(1989-05-24) (aged 55)
Associated actsAir, Fred Anderson, Creative Construction Company

Steve McCall (September 30, 1933 – May 24, 1989) was an American jazz drummer.

McCall was born in Chicago and began his career there in the 1950s. One of his early gigs was playing behind blues singer Lucky Carmichael. McCall befriended Muhal Richard Abrams in 1961, and went on to be one of the founders of the AACM in 1965. He played with hard bop and free jazz musicians throughout the decade; among those he played with were Anthony Braxton, Leroy Jenkins, Joseph Jarman, Roscoe Mitchell, Fred Anderson, and Wadada Leo Smith. From 1967 to 1970 he lived in Amsterdam and in Paris, playing there with Braxton, Marion Brown, and Gunter Hampel. In 1970 he moved back to Chicago, where he played in a trio with Dexter Gordon and Gene Ammons, and the avant garde trio Air with reed player Henry Threadgill and bassist Fred Hopkins.

He spent another year in Europe in 1974, then moved to New York City in 1975, playing again with Threadgill and Hopkins in Air into the 1980s. He also played with Chico Freeman, Arthur Blythe, John Hicks and David Murray. He played with David Murray at Galerie Waalkens (Albert Waalkens) in the Dutch village Finsterwolde. In 1985 he played with Cecil Taylor, and worked with Roscoe Mitchell again until his death of a stroke in 1989. He never recorded a session as a leader (a solo recording for the French Futura label was mentioned at one time, but it's unclear whether it actually existed). However, McCall received equal billing with tenor sax player Fred Anderson on the posthumously released Vintage Duets album.


With Air

With Fred Anderson

With Creative Construction Company

As sideman[edit]

With Muhal Richard Abrams

With Billy Bang

  • Sweet Space (Anima, 1979)

With Amiri Baraka

  • New Music - New Poetry (India Navigation, 1982) with David Murray

With Arthur Blythe

With Lester Bowie

With Marion Brown

With Anthony Braxton

With Ted Curson

With Chico Freeman

With Dexter Gordon and Gene Ammons

With Gunter Hampel

  • The 8th Of July 1969 (Birth, 1969)
  • Cosmic Dancer (Birth, 1975)

With Joseph Jarman

With Ramsey Lewis

With Cecil McBee

With Roscoe Mitchell

With David Murray

With Cecil Taylor