Howie McGhee


McGhee 1Although not a household name in jazz, Howard (Howie) McGhee (1918-1987) is one of the most important transitional trumpet players in early bebop. Approximately the same age as Dizzy Gillespie, McGhee was active in the Harlem jam session scene in the early 1940’s. He bridges that gap between late swing and bebop

Howie McGhee - Episode 1

In the mid 1940’s he spent part of his career in Los Angeles recording with the great tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins. McGhee’s playing is very similar to Gillespie’s because they were both influenced by many of the same swing era trumpet players. McGhee’s recordings from 1945 to 1950 are outstanding examples of classic bebop: fiery solos that often extend into the upper ranges of the instrument, fast technical runs, and the use of more sophisticated harmony.
CompositionArtistYear
Heckler’s HopRoy Eldridge Orchestra1937
Salt PeanutsDizzy Gillespie Quintet1947
Bean SoupHowie McGhee/Coleman Hawkins1945
Bean StalkingHowie McGhee/Coleman Hawkins1945
Sportsman's HopHowie McGhee/Coleman Hawkins1945
Mop MopHowie McGhee1945
Trumpet at TempoHowie McGhee1946

Howie McGhee - Episode 2

Most of the recordings featured here were recorded in New York and featured the finest young bop musicians in the genre. Howie had a beautiful sound and was also a great interpreter of ballads. Listen to the recording of Howie with Fats Navarro from 1948. You can hear the influence of Howie and Dizzy in Fats’ trumpet playing! The last recordings on the podcast are from a series referred to as the “Savoy Sessions” which took place between 1948 and 1952. Although Howie was actively playing through the late 1970’s, his best work comes from the late 1940’s and early 1950’s.
CompositionArtistYear
DorothyHowie McGhee1947
SurrenderHowie McGhee1947
YouHowie McGhee1947
Double TalkFats Navarro/Howie McGhee1948
HackensackHoward McGheeca. 1950
How High the MoonHoward McGheeca. 1950

Max Roach


max-roachMax Roach (1924-2007) was born in North Carolina and raised in New York City. A pioneer of bebop, Roach went on to work in many other styles of music, and is generally considered one of the most important drummers in jazz history. He worked with many famous jazz musicians, including Coleman Hawkins, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, Sonny Rollins and Clifford Brown.

Max Roach - Episode 1

Roach's most significant innovations came in the 1940s, when he and jazz drummer Kenny Clarke devised a new concept of musical time by playing the pulse of time on the ride cymbal instead of on the bass drum. The new approach left space for the drummer to insert dramatic accents on the snare drum, bass drum, and cymbals. By matching his rhythms with a tune's melody he created a new way to accompany soloists in the angular and highly rhythmic bebop style. Roach did this with great subtlety and often shifted the dynamic emphasis from one part of his drum kit to another within a single phrase, creating a sense of tonal color and rhythmic surprise. Roach played on many of Parker's most important records, including the November 1945 Savoy session (Ko-Ko) which was a turning point in modern jazz.
CompositionArtistYear
Disorder at the BorderMax Roach/Coleman Hawkins1944
Woody'n YouMax Roach/Coleman Hawkins1944
Buh Dee DahtMax Roach/Coleman Hawkins1944
Ko-KoMax Roach/Charlie Parker1945
CrazeologyMax Roach/Charlie Parker1947
Bird Gets the WormMax Roach/Charlie Parker1947

Max Roach - Episode 2

The large number of important and grounding breaking recordings that Roach played on is a testament to his ability as a drummer. He was one of the most sought after musician in jazz for over 4 decades. In 1952, Roach co-founded Debut Records with bassist Charles Mingus. This label released a record of a May 15, 1953 concert which came to be known as Jazz at Massey Hall, featuring Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Mingus and Roach. Also released on this label was the groundbreaking bass-and-drum free improvisation, “Percussion Discussion.”
CompositionArtistAlbumYear
MoveMax Roach/Fats Navarro1948
MoveMaz Roach/Miles Davis NonetBirth of the Cool1949
Tempus FugitMax Roach/Bud Powell Trio1949
Salt PeanutsMax Roach/Quintet of the YearJazz at Massey Hall1953
MildamaMax Roach/Clifford BrownBrown & Roach Incorporated1954

Max Roach - Episode 3

As the bop era progressed into the late '50s, Roach was known for "hard bop" and experimentation on albums such as Max Roach Plus Four (1956), Deeds Not Words (1958) and Max (1958). He also continued his collaborations with Sonny Rollins. In June 1956 he played on Sonny Rollins' groundbreaking solo album, Saxophone Colossus. A brilliant showcase of material, Roach's performance on the album Blue 7 "shows," as Gunther Sculler commented in Jazz Panorama, "that exciting drum solos need not be just an un-thinking burst of energy - they can be interesting and meaningful compositions.” In February of 1958, Roach and Oscar Pettiford formed a trio with Rollins for the saxophonist's celebrated Riverside album, Freedom Suite.
CompositionArtistAlbumYear
Parisian ThoroughfareMax Roach/Clifford BrownMax Roach/Clifford Brown Quintet1954
DelilahMax Roach/Clifford BrownMax Roach/Clifford Brown Quintet1954
Blue SevenMax Roach/Sonny RollinsSaxophone Colossus1956
The Freedom SuiteMax Roach/Sonny RollinsFreedom Suite1958
A Little MaxMax Roach/Duke Ellington/MingusMoney Jungle1962

Max Roach - Episode 4

This podcast will feature some of Max Roach’s most important solo work. Max was a pioneer soloist, playing melodies on entire the drum set. We start with his 1953 Jazz at Massey Hall solo and move through Drums Unlimited featuring his most important solo piece, “For Big Sid” dedicated to legendary drummer Big Sid Catlett.
CompositionArtistAlbumYear
Drum ConversationBud PowellJazz at Massey Hall V.21953
Drums UnlimitedMax RoachDrums Unlimited1966
The Drum Also WaltzesMax RoachDrums Unlimited1966
For Big SidMax RoachDrums Unlimited1966
Mop MopMax Roach QuartetMax Roach Again1964

Classic Tenors


Coleman_Hawkins_(Gottlieb_03991)The saxophone is a relatively new instrument invented in the 1840’s by a Belgian instrument maker by the name of Adolphe Sax. The instrument emerged in the United States at the turn of 20th century and was popular in the large marching and concert bands of the period. The dance/jazz band musicians adopted the instrument in the early 1920’s. The saxophone represented everything that was new and different and became a symbol for American popular music in the 1920’s and 1930’s.

Classic Tenors - Episode 1

It took jazz musicians to show us its potential, starting with the C melody sax and eventually the great tenor and alto players in the 1920’s. The tenor sax in the hands of Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, Chu Berry, and Lester Young represent jazz at its best from this era. On this podcast I will play excerpts of Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster, both originally from the Kansas City area.
CompositionArtistYear
Body and SoulColeman Hawkins1935
Sugar Foot StompColeman Hawkins and Fletcher Henderson1925
Chelsea BridgeBen Webster and Duke Ellington1941
CottontailBen Webster and Duke Ellington1940
LafayetteBen Webster with Bennie Moten1932

Classic Tenors - Episode 2

On this continuation of the previous podcast I will examine the playing of two other great 1930’s era tenor saxophonists, Leon “Chu” Berry and the inimitable Lester Young. Both of these great tenor plays left a great legacy, but in hindsight it might be said that Lester Young left the largest footprint of these four classic tenor giants.
CompositionArtistYear
Body and SoulChu Berry and His Little Jazz Ensemble1938
Sittin' InChu Berry and His Little Jazz Ensemble1938
Lester LeapsCount Basie with Lester Young1939
Jumpin' with Symphony SidLester Young Sextet1946