Howard McGhee All Stars / Fats Navarro (1948)

Track Selection 1: Boperation (with Navarro)

Track Selection 2. I’ll Remember April

Track Selection 3. Fluid Drive


Boperation: Fats Navarro (tp) Howard McGhee (tp, p) Ernie Henry (as) Milt Jackson (vib, p) Curly Russell (b) Kenny Clarke (d) recorded Apex Studios, NYC, October 11, 1948

I’ll Remember April & Fuid Drive: Howard McGhee (tp) J.J. Johnson (tb) Brew Moore (ts) Kenny Drew (p) Curly Russell (b) Max Roach (d) recorded WOR Studios, NYC, January 23, 1950


As the tracks on this ten inch are ultra short, a broader selection is included, including Fats Navarro’s hot “Boperation”. Trumpet overdose!

“Despite having such a short career, the impact of Navarro’s stature amongst his peers is most evident in his “trumpet battles” with the elite blowers of the time, such as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and the following session for Blue Note. This October 11, 1948 session is with former Andy Kirk-days colleague Howard McGhee, known by Fats as “the influence”. Sadly, McGhee has slipped into obscurity, which makes this session all the more valuable.”

– from the excellent  at the JazzNote

Music definitely with “another time” feel, musicians squashed into under three minutes per track with 4, or 8 bar solos and the next soloists steps in. Gives you an understanding what a revolution the 12″ microgroove LP was for music, paving the way for extended solo’s, greater exploration, probing boundaries, tune-deconstruction, all the new musical possibilities unleashed simply by having more time.

Brew Moore on tenor is a new name for me, and I like his voice, though there is scarcely more than an appetiser here.

Vinyl: Toshiba-EMI Blue Note’s 10″” transferred onto 12″

Collectors Corner

They had the two McGhees, so I bought the other as well.I know you can buy they compiled on to a single LP, but I liked them as separate records and covers.

5 thoughts on “Howard McGhee All Stars / Fats Navarro (1948)

  1. The Howard McGhee Vols. 1& 2 are some of my most favoured Blue Notes. My copies are the Toshiba vinyl reissues which sound very good considering the these are 1948 and 1953 recordings, respectively. That “other world feeling” adds to the joy of listening, for I image what life must have been like at the time. Thank you for sharing.

  2. That’s harsh. This week I splashed out nearly 20 quid for the Sheila Jordan blue note cd. I used to download a fair number of ripped albums but lately I’ve been using Spotify to find interesting 50s and 60s jazz. I currently have a premium subscription but since Spotify bizarrely don’t want to build an iPad app, I’m probably going to ditch it and go back to the free version. If anyone hasn’t tried Spotify I’d recommend checking it as there’s a vast amount of jazz available.

    I’d dearly love to go back to vinyl and somewhat envious of the lucky folks on the blog who have not gone digital. For me, despite having a high-end hi-fi (Meridian), the richness of the vinyl sound cannot be compared to the somewhat clinical sound of digital. Then there’s the sleeves.

    The covers of of the albums featured in the blog are works of art in themselves, and I’m seriously thinking about buying some of the current crop of albums that seem to be available on the back of the much talked about vinyl revival. Pointless since I have no means to play them but I think the sleeves would look great as framed art on my walls.

    CDs don’t have that same attraction for collectors.That said the folks over at Mosaic records have put together some great cd and vinyl collections. Not originals but at least the quality of the packaging matches the music. I’m saving up my pension for for the Hank Mobley boxed set.

    Looking forward to the next featured album on the blog.

    • Jim, we all love the music, that’s what matters, and we all live with what we can afford.

      I was chatting to a guy behind the counter of a record store right on the Portobello Road Notting Hill today. He was telling me about the number of Russians that recently come into the store with pockets literally bulging with wads of cash.
      Anything sixties, happy to spend thousands, but it must be Ex+ not a mark not a fingerprint. The Moscow elite will pay thousands of pounds for one record but they want it “perfect”. A lot of buyers now, he tells me, scoff at the idea of playing the records. They are an investment.

      Its a crazy world. And its getting a lot crazier.

  3. Howard McGhee is a new name to me and only came across him when I was checking out what Kenny Drew CDs were available. Now on my rare blue note wish list on amazon. Rare to me is above £10 which in the context of this great blog is laughable. CD prices for Blue Note are generally very reasonable but some are now out of print and are becoming fairly expensive. In the uk various labels are repackaging recordings, but I still to prefer to try and obtain the original CDs. Just think, in 20 or so years time, when CDs are consigned to history, will there be the same passion for collecting rare CDs?

    Great blog, and reassuring that jazz music still attracts such a level of interest.


    • Kind words Jim, thank you. We are all learning, all the time. that’s the great thing about this music.
      £10? Maybe I need to start a ha’penny section to the blog, for pensioners!.
      On a zero budget I reckon you simply Google “album name artist name download RAR” and you can download anything for nothing. But you can’t free download or fileshare a 12″ piece of plastic. That is always going to cost money, the historical artefact, the new antiques.
      Anyway, good to have you around Jim. Appreciate your comments

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