Cecil McBee

(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
Krentz Ratings:
Mutima (1974), 7/10
Music From the Source (1977), 7/10
Compassion (1977), 5.5/10
Alternate Spaces (1977), 7/10
Flying Out (1982), 7/10
Heaven Dance (1988), 5.5/10

Oklahoma-born bassist Cecil McBee (1935), who to New York with Paul Winter's ensemble in 1964, was an influential figure both as a bassist and as a composer. He went on to play with Andrew Hill, Sam Rivers, Jackie McLean, Wayne Shorter, Pharoah Sanders, Alice Coltrane, Dollar Brand, Chico Freeman, etc. He composed some of their material, notably the 19-minute Undercurrent on Freeman's The Outside Within (1978).

Mutima (may 1974) belonged to Chicago's "creative" generation rather than the free-jazz crowd he had been grown up with. With a strong spiritual emphasis, McBee intoned the eleven-minute psalm From Within for two overdubbed basses and their feedback, and conducted the chamber concerto of Mutima for small ensemble.

A sextet featuring Freeman, trumpeter Joe Gardner, pianist Dennis Moorman and percussionists Don Moye and Steve McCall, was documented on two two live albums: Music From the Source (august 1977), with the 19-minute Agnez, and the inferior Compassion (same sessions). Alternate Spaces (december 1977) for a sextet with Freeman, Gardner, Moye, another percussionist and pianist Don Pullen contained Alternate Spaces, Consequence and Expression. The zenith of his chamber jazz was perhaps the quintet of Flying Out (1982): violinist John Blake, cellist David Eyges, cornetist Olu Dara, drummer Billy Hart.

Heaven Dance (may 1988) was by the Leaders Trio (pianist Kirk Lightsey, Cecil McBee and Don Moye).

Later recordings included: Unsponken (october 1996) for a quintet (trumpet, alto sax, piano, bass and drums) and Blueprint Project (2004) by Creative Nation (guitar, saxophones, piano, bass, drums).

(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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