Smooth and Soulful Jazz trumpet, with awesome guitar, blazing sax and exquisite piano along with great arrangements and beautiful passionate vocals. Bill is a veteran smooth jazz artist and this is his long awaited 4th CD.
Since his first solo CD, "This One's 4U", was released in 2002, Bill McGee has survived prostate cancer, had nine grandchildren, retired after thirty years as a school administrator and music teacher, released seven different CD's as the CEO of the 804 Music Group and has come around full circle as a full time musician and recording artist. He was given his first trumpet lesson in 1963, and says that he's still working on learning how to play the instrument. Bill recorded for the first time in 1970, in a small studio in College Park, Georgia with his classmates who went on to become "Brick". After receiving two gold records and working with stars like the O'jays, Lou Rawls, Evelyn Champagne King, and The Sugarhill Gang, learning how to play is a bit of an understatement. But after a nine year hiatus since the hit CD "Chase The Sunset", Bill wants everybody to know that he is "Still Bill", a soulful, spiritual, jazzy kind of trumpet guy, who as an arranger and composer can hang with the best in the business. The CD "Still Bill" comes with all flavors of Jazz, Soul and Gospel Jazz. With a great cast of musicians and singers who all have what Bill likes to call "The Gift". Much of the music is a reflection on his early life as a young trumpet player learning songs like "Watermelon Man", "Cantaloupe Island" and his first public solo, at a pep rally, playing "Grazing in The Grass". Another group of songs represent his days as a young professional musician and being influenced by Mandrill's "Fence Walk" and Philly International's "Children of the Night", by the Stylistics, performed beautifully by Yolanda "Yonnie" Coleman. Then we find the songs on this CD that reflect on a spiritual journey that recognizes we all come "Full Circle", and in time learn to appreciate "The Gift" of music given to us by the creator. Then we reflect and share the beautiful uplifting melody of the original Jazz - Gospel composition "Just You Wait and See" performed by the marvelous voice of Reverend Cora Harvey Armstrong, and the 804 Jazz Allstars. The CD "Still Bill" reflects the life and experience of the veteran trumpet player Bill McGee, who sincerely believes "To whom much is given; much is required."
The CD "Still Bill" has eleven outstanding songs all by Bill McGee and his associates, Tom Reaves a phenomenal guitarist who has played on all four of Bill McGee’s CD’s, E.J. Shaw a gifted drummer, bass player and pianist and Brandon Lane, a gifted composer, arranger, engineer, and bass player extraordinaire. Brandon at 13 made his recording debut when he played on Bill’s cover of “I Wish” from the Chase The Sunset CD. Along with these three fantastic musicians the CD “Still Bill” features many, talented musicians and singers including Fox Hole Records guitarist, Freddie Fox, on Brandon’s composition “Full Circle”. And there is the young prodigy, Ayinde Williams, the 18 year old pianist is featured on the lead single “Cantaloupe and Watermelon”. A 2015 high school graduate, Ayinde was awarded a scholarship to the New England Conservatory of Music to study Jazz Performance. Bill says “it was an honor to feature Ayinde of these two Herbie Hancock classic’s because of the synergy and similarities between a young Herbie Hancock and this fine young pianist who is most definitely heading for bigger and better things as a jazz pianist.”
Also featured on the CD are 804 jazz label mates, James Saxsmo Gates (Sax) and Dr. Weldon Hill (Piano), both of these fantastic artist have been recently nominated on the first ballot for a Grammy, in composition and arranging. Saxsmo stands out once again on several songs, one in particular is “I Know You Got Soul”, a funky G minor blues that will have you bopping your head from side to side. The CD “Still Bill” has so many great originals and cover tunes that it is fundamentally a top to bottom listen. And as it closes out you will hear a composition that was written to acknowledge the 2015 visit of Pope Francis to the United States. This song was released on Facebook and Youtube as a tribute video and received many thousand views. Bill explained that he is not Catholic, but he admires Pope Francis for being a simple man of the people, sick and poor, a man with flaws who follows the words of Christ as he ministers to his flock. In recording this song Bill stepped away from slick studio production and recorded it in one take, a capella, keeping all of the flaws and nuances in an effort to reflect the realness of the moment and the person of Pope Francis, then the music was added to enhance the mood of his soulful trumpet playing. This song brings the CD to a beautiful culmination of excellence and creativity. And yes he is “Still Bill”.
Bill McGee - Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Trombone, Keyboards, Drum Programming, Strings, Arrangements, Producer, Engineer
Tom Reaves - Guitar, Associate Producer, Engineer
E.J. Shaw - Drums, Bass, Keyboards, Associate Producer, Engineer
Brandon Lane - Bass, Trombone, Keys, Programming, Producer, Engineer (Full Circle), Associate Producer
Larry Dee - Organ, Production Assistant
James Saxsmo Gates - Sax
Ayinde Williams - Piano
Hannon D. Lane, Freddie Fox - Guitar (Freddie Fox appears courtesy of FoxHole Records)
Cora Harvey Armstrong - Piano, Lead Vocals (Just You Wait and See)
Matthew Zavich, Kevin Simpson, Dexter Moses - Sax
Juan Nelson - Bass
Kenneth Gill - Trombone
Kofi Shepsu - Drums
Yolanda "Yonnie" Coleman - Lead Vocals (Children of The Night)
Shawanda Yeldell - Lead Vocals (Fence Walk)
Will Hall - Piano, Marsha Meekins - Flute
Ellis Muhammad - Keyboards, Programming
Vocals: Wanda Tiller, Thomasine Johnson, Wanda T. McGee, Clarissa Jackson, Keisha Curry-Hilliard, Tiffany Thomas, Chasity Nero, Kanika McKinzie, Yolanda Coleman, Casper C. Coleman, Leandra Wilson, Tom Reaves, Bill McGee
Sound FX: Amani, Kameron, Jordan, Sean, (Boo boo and The Huggables) with Layla and Joshua (Monk)