Happy Birthday Cecil McBee

May 19, 1935

C.P. Blues

Bassist Cecil McBee was born on May 19, 1935, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

After earning a music degree at Ohio Central State University and spending two years conducting a band in the Army, he joined Dinah Washington and then Paul Winter.

Miles Davis, Andrew Hill, Sam Rivers, Jackie McLean, Wayne Shorter, Charles Lloyd, Yusef Lateef, Keith Jarrett, Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, and Alice Coltrane are just some of the artists who have sought him out as a sideman over the years.

In addition to regularly performing and recording, McBee teaches at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.

After gaining experience accompanying Dinah Washington, Cecil spent time in Detroit during the early ’60s performing with Paul Winter’s folk-jazz ensemble before moving to New York in 1964.

He released his first solo effort, “Mutima,” in 1974, followed by two albums as a leader based on chamber jazz: “Flying Out” (1982) and “Compassion” (1983).

In 1997, Cecil recorded “Unspoken,” an LP featuring his European touring quintet.

Cecil McBee is featured as a member of the “Yosuke Yamashita Trio” during a live performance in 1988.


Yosuke Yamashita – piano
Cecil McBee – bass
Pheeroan Aklaff – drums