Sunday, April 9, 2017

Howard McGhee - Star Dust EP

In spite of what I said a couple of posts ago about 45 RPM EPs dying out in the US, they still showed up occasionally after the 1950s. Here a really rare one from veteran jazz trumpeter Howard McGhee, who played with Charlie Parker and Coleman Hawkins in the 1940s. I snatched up this record when I found it at the Jazz Record Center in New York City last year. Owner Fred Cohen had not been able to turn up any information about the obscure record, which is not listed in any discography. I haven't done much better, but I did find a small advertisement in the January 23, 1971 Billboard magazine, indicating that the record was put out by producer Harrison Smith.  Smith is credited as composer of three of the four tracks; that may provide a clue as to why this record was made.

The recorded sound is boxed-in and confined, but the music is pretty good. McGhee's accompanists are second-tier New York jazzmen who acquit themselves well enough. Eddie Jefferson, well known in jazz circles, sits in for the vocal on "Sammy," a Smith composition. McGhee himself plays very well. I'm glad I found this one, even though I want to know more of the story behind it. Here's one representative track:

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