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Charles E. McGheeCopyright © 2002
The following is an excerpt from the funeral progam of trumpeter and composer Charles McGhee:
Hailing from Laurel, Mississippi, Charles McGee made a name for himself as a jazz trumpeter and composer -- not only in the New York metropolitan area, but around the country and in Europe, as well.
He performed with many of the greats in the music world including: Max Roach, Lionel Hampton, Lou Rawls, Pearl Bailey, Frank Foster, Roland Kirk, Eubie Blake and the legendary Charles Mingus. His soaring trumpet graced the stages of Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden, The Apollo Theater, Sweet Basil, The Village Gate, The Village Vanguard, Parlor Entertainment, Chez Josephine and St. Peter's Church.
McGee was educated in the Laurel public school system, receiving his high school diploma from Oak Park High School. He arrived in New York after graduating from Jackson State University with a B. A. degree in Music, at a time when jazz was in its heyday -- the late sixties and early seventies.
He was invited to tour Europe with Archie Shepp's Big Band and the Sam Wooding Orchestra. He also formed his own group, performed around town, in the Bahamas, and wrote band arrangements for the groups in which he was involved. During this time he appeared on several television shows, including The Ed Sullivan Show and Like It Is.
In addition to performing and composing, Charles was a music educator and band instructor. He helped enrich the lives of many people, young and old who were his students.
McGee's zest for life was reflected in his music. Never content to rest on his past achievements, the jazz veteran constantly searched for new and innovative ways of musical expression, creating new arrangements with his wife and conducting big band workshops. He will be dearly missed.
JJA members are invited to submit a full obituary or appreciation.