Bill McGee was brought to my attention by a GREAT friend and musician, Marsha Meekins. Marsha told me about this gentleman last year - but many know that 2015 was KINDA busy for yours truly! In 2016, HEARING this man of many hats made all the difference. His "Still Bill" is just incredible. Full of joy and thoughtfulness and reverence and flat-out top drawer PLAYING! His first CD in NINE years :)
Our guest picked up the trumpet in 1963. And he just celebrated his birthday yesterday - decades later. Oh, gracious, has there been some mileage between those childhood years and now! A profound educator who is now retired, Bill is a survivor of so much. The Hip Hop years - when he played trumpet for The Sugarhill Gang and Grand Master Flash. The stints with the O'Jays, Evelyn Champagne King and Lou Rawls. As road manager for Klymaxx. He has survived prostate cancer, too. Whoa, does that gratitude surface in his music! The love of family - especially all those grandchildren - shines as well. This amazing artist posted a Birthday video of his party on 2/16 that is a TREAT - with mostly all of those grands there. It will give you some indication of the joy that surrounds him - and that translates to his music.
A big inspiration for Bill was Donald Byrd. The variables in Byrd's music have enchanted many for such a long time. That he was able to seamlessly segue-way from straight to fused Jazz has always been impressive. Bill has incorporated many elements of Blues and Gospel into HIS mix of Jazz, with beautifully natural results. We'll hear tracks from "Still Bill" and you'll hear the honest Hybrid passion in what he plays.
His solo debut in 2002 confirmed his place in our fabulous Jazz history. Projects since then, his latest tells his story best. It's one of GREAT joy!
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