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Howard McGhee

McGhee was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but grew up in Detroit. He first learned to play the clarinet and tenor sax, then switched to trumpet. From 1936 to 1940 he travelled around playing in territory bands. In 1941 he led his own band at Detroit's Club Congo. After a short stint with Lionel Hampton he joined Andy Kirk, with whom he made his first recording, his own McGhee Special. During the AFM ban, he spent a year with Charlie Barnet, but returned to Kirk in 1943. In 1944, jobs in the bands of Georgie Auld and Count Basie were followed by his joining the Coleman Hawkin's quintet for half a year in Los Angeles

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Howard McGhee had the big, brassy tone and expansive melodic imagination of the great swing-era trumpeters. But his rhythmic fluidity and advanced harmonic thinking helped him become one of the first important big-band soloists to master be-bop's intricacies. (New York Times Obituary by Robert Palm

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