Andy McGhee, 2005 June 10


Andy McGhee, saxophonist and Berklee faculty member, discusses his early music years playing for the bands of Fat Man Robinson, Lionel Hampton, and Woody Herman; touring internationally in Europe and Japan; his transition to teaching and his hiring at Berklee School of Music (later College); and his thoughts on Berklee founder Lawrence Berk. He also discusses his teaching methods and what he finds important for students in contrast to how current students approach learning music. He also reflects on the changes in music during his lifetime.

Biographical Summary

Saxophonist Andrew “Andy” McGhee (1927-2017 ) was raised in Wilmington, North Carolina, and first came to Boston in 1945 to attend the New England Conservatory of Music, from which he graduated in 1949. After two years in the army, McGhee returned to Boston. He worked with Fat Man Robinson until 1957, when he joined Lionel Hampton’s band. He played with Hampton until 1963, after which he toured with Woody Herman’s band for three years. McGhee taught at the All Newton Music School before joining the Woodwinds faculty of Berklee School (later College) of Music in 1966, where he would go on to teach for forty-six years. McGhee published three instructional books: Improvisation for Flute: the Scale/Mode Approach  (1974); Improvisation for Saxophone: the Scale/Mode Approach (1974); and Modal Studies for Saxophone (1981). He founded the Andy McGhee quartet in the 1980s and participated in the Golden Men of Jazz tour in the early 1990s. In 1992, he received Berklee’s President's Award and in 2006 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee. McGhee retired from Berklee in 2013.

Item Description
Interview Date
June 10th, 2005
Bouchard, Fred
McGhee, Andy
William Davis Room (WDR)
Transcript (PDF)

FRED BOUCHARD: We're continuing a series for the Berklee College Library, a sort of video history of a lot of the people in the Boston jazz and Berklee communities. We're happy to have Mr. Andy McGhee, who was a staunch member of the Berklee faculty from 1966 to 1997, and had a very long career, playing his saxophone with several very prominent big bands including Lionel Hampton, Woody Herman, and very recently with Jimmy Heath. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah, I just did some of Jimmy Heath's music. 

FRED BOUCHARD: We were talking a little earlier, and Andy was filling us in on some of his world travels and talking about his students and colleagues over the years. I don't know if we want to try to get a little bit of a chronological history here. Maybe you could just launch off by telling us a little bit about growing up in Wilmington, North Carolina, with Jimmy Heath and Percy Heath as classmates. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Actually, I'm from Wilmington, North Carolina. And Jimmy Heath and I... Jimmy's older than I; of course, Percy is the oldest of the Heath brothers. Jimmy and I started saxophone in high school band together, but Jimmy was two years older. So I knew Jimmy better than Percy. Percy was drafted--volunteered in the service. I don't know if you know it or not, but he was one of the first Black pilots from Tuskegee. Percy was a pilot, so when he came to my hometown he was a big hero. Percy was born in Wilmington, and Jimmy was born in Philadelphia with the rest of the family. But Jimmy and I are very tight. The interesting thing about it as long as we've been playing. Last year we got a chance to play together in Switzerland, and we did his music. 

FRED BOUCHARD: The Heath Brothers band was one of my favorite bands in the seventies, when he and Percy and kid brother Tootie on drums, and they had a group with sometimes Tony Purrone on guitar. They made some wonderful albums of Jimmy's music, mostly Jimmy's music, on Columbia. It was a high profile label and some really, really good recordings. 

ANDY MCGHEE: He's a hell of a writer. This conservatory at Freiburg, in Switzerland, bought all of his arrangements, rehearsed them a couple of months, and then they flew Jimmy over and they flew me over. And he conducted a band and I did some of the solos. Then the last day we did a duo of two tenors. It was really very interesting and I enjoyed it. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Perhaps you could fill the people in on your first recollections in Boston. Did you first come to Boston as a student? At the Conservatory? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah, I came to the Conservatory as a student in 1945. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Had you done any wartime activity? You didn't do any service. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yes. I did. What happened was I was at the Conservatory and I was deferred until I graduated. In '49 I graduated, '50 in the army. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Off to Korea? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Well, yeah, I ended up in Korea, but I first went to [unintelligible], and they transferred me to Baione in New Jersey. One officer read my background and I became an instructor at the band training union in New Jersey, and I stayed there until it became complicated--they found out that some guys were there longer than they should and so they sent everybody out that had been there over a year, and I had been there, so they sent me to Korea. 

FRED BOUCHARD: You want to tell us a little bit about your student years studying with Sam Marcus in the big band at the Conservatory at the time? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah, well, Sam Marcus was my first saxophone teacher. And they had Most of the academics were classical oriented, only we did have an arranging program. But the rest was solfege, composition, and conducting. And then at the end of the year they would give a concert doing popular music--a lot of Glen Miller stuff and what not. That was it, but Sam was my first teacher over there. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Did you make any connections on the side around town? Did you do any gigging with the local people? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Well, no, not really, here and there. Basically I was working hard to just get out of there. you know. But we played the same old thing that's happening now. We had sessions at Wally's. Jam sessions. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Oh wow. That started back up in the forties. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Oh yeah, jam sessions on Sundays. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Wally himself was down there in those days. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Oh yeah sure, he was definitely down there. When he got tired of hearing us, he'd throw us out and then we'd come back. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Who were some of the guys around town? Do you remember any of the guys you played with there? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Well, we didn't play--there was a lot of heavy guys around town. Gigi Gryce, Sam Rivers, Jaki Byard, Alan Dawson, Charlie Mariano 

FRED BOUCHARD: Jimmy Tyler? 

ANDY MCGHEE: No, not Jimmy, what was his name? I'm trying to think of some of the drummers. Of course, Nat Pierce was around. Piano player that went with the trumpet player ... I'm trying to think, I can't remember. 

FRED BOUCHARD: That's okay. You mentioned some people with some pretty long Berklee connections there. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah, well, basically Berklee had just started in '45. 

FRED BOUCHARD: That's right. They were here on Newbury Street with Schillinger House; that was just starting. Herb Pomeroy and John Laporta were there pretty near the beginning right? 

ANDY MCGHEE: I think so, I didn't really know 'em. 

FRED BOUCHARD: That wasn't your scene yet. 

ANDY MCGHEE: No, I hadn't... but I heard about Joe Viola as a saxophonist, a teacher, from Buddy Pearson, who was a fine alto clarinet player who studied with Joe. And of course his brother, I heard about him--Tony, Tony Viola, because he's a tenor player. But actually I didn't really have any connections then. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Okay. After Fort Dicks and Korea, were you back in town? Did you come back to Boston? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah, after I was discharged I came back. Well, I was married and I came back to Boston, yeah. 

FRED BOUCHARD: I see Fat Man Robinson here, was that in Boston? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah, yeah. What happened was I came back, I got out of the army, and then my first gig was--Well, I was just freelancing more or less freelancing. And I was teaching a little bit. I just had a few students. And I went with Jimmy Tyler. He had a house band in Atlantic City. So I worked with Jimmy Tyler from June until of course Labor Day, September. And it was a Larry Steele smart affair. Great show. Great show. Lot of work, we had to work seven days a week. I was really.It was work, so I quit at the end. But I heard from Fat Man Robinson--I was taking Sam Rivers' place. Sam Rivers was the tenor for Fat Man, and so I joined Fat Man Robinson. 

FRED BOUCHARD: How big of an ensemble was that? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Just two, just a rhythm section and two saxophones. But he was into the Louis Jordan bag. And Sabby Lewis was big. So, Sabby Lewis was big and Fat Man. So I was with Fat Man. 

FRED BOUCHARD: So, he did the singing too? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah, he did--good showman. He knew all of Louis Jordan's stuff. 

FRED BOUCHARD: That was a great bag, highly entertaining and really popular. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah. And the funny thing about methe guys talking about rap, they should hear Louis Jordan talk about rap. That's really rap, good rap. 

FRED BOUCHARD: And extremely intelligent and very musical all at once. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Very musical and clever. It's about the signified monkey and all that stuff which is really very clean musically. They talk about rap, they should listen to Louis Jordan rap. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Those guys should listen to that, you're quite right. We were talking about that before we started rolling here, and the kind of deplorable situation with the state of a lot of popular music these days. If they did a little bit of homework they'd hear some mighty good stuff and might get inspired. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Fat Man he was very good at it. He would tell about, "Don't get married, don't taste their cooking," and all that. It was real funny, and very very clever. Plus the music was swingin. Louis Jordan was a.. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Some really good stuff. "Saturday Night Fish Fry" and all that 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah, so Fat Man, he was in that bag and very popular. 

FRED BOUCHARD: So you were on the Boston scene then, and you met a lot of the other people around town and otherwise involved yourself in the scene in the fifties in Boston? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Well yeah, I was involved. The fact that I was with Fat Man--see the thing in Boston at that time, you had to work seven nights a week, plus a matinee. That's everybody. The big guys from New York didn't mind it either because they didn't have to work four o'clock in the morning and all that. But in Boston they had a blue law, so on Saturday they had to close at twelve o'clock. No club was over at one o'clock. So I guess they extended it, so we had to work seven days. So I was basically working with Fat Man Robinson, because he worked all the time. I mean I was with him for four or five years with no time off at all. That's why I left. 

FRED BOUCHARD: How wide of a circuit did you play with that band? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Well, he had Boston--well, naturally, everybody knew this was Sabby Lewis territory. But he had an eight-piece band. But Fat Man had Lawrence, Lowell--all those places that were great places for jazz--Lawrence, Lowell, Salisbury Beach, until they went dry and they killed that. Salisbury Beach, and Fall River and then a couple of times we went to Florida. Miami. So, he had that sewed up good. And he had [unintelligible], it was another club, I didn't play there. There was another club, but I took Sam Rivers' place and that's where. Fat Man had a club called the Stage Bar. If he had any time, space. he could always go there. Like Sabby going with Savoy you know. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Like a home base. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah you could always go to Stage Bar. 

FRED BOUCHARD: I remember seeing Sam Rivers playing with Jaki Byard and some other people in the early sixties when I first came to school here as a student at Boston College. What was your association with Sam and Jaki? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Oh, we were all students together. We were great, we were great friends. We were great friends. In the sixties I was gone. I left Fat Man and I joined Lionel Hampton '57. So I was on the road. 

FRED BOUCHARD: What made you decide to leave town? You were sick of the seven-night-a-week thing and.. I mean it was a great offer. 

ANDY MCGHEE: No no. In the first place, being a musician I had a super wife. Super, super, super lady. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Understanding, tolerant. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah, understanding, tolerant, what direction I wanted to go was okay. I had been with Fat Man for a while, and we were doing well and then Fatsomething... well, he had a young lady, a girlfriend, and she started interjecting her opinions about the money and what not. And more than that she'd say, "Why are you paying Andy this, and why are you paying him that?" and whatnot. So, it got a little funny. And I just told my wife, and she said, "Look, do whatever you want to do," you know. So I quit. Best move I ever made. 

FRED BOUCHARD: How did you hook up with Hamp? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Well, that's it, I quit Fat Man. Two weeks. I'm wandering around, you know.Well Fat Man was a nice guy, good businessman too. I think he was one of the first guys that looked out for the musician, to the point where he made sure you applied for unemployment. Nobody did that. So he was a good guy. The problem with that band started with tax--the guy who was supposed to be paying the taxes didn't pay any taxes. That was the beginning of the downfall. I was rehearsing with a drummer on Commonwealth Avenue, and I said, "This is not going any place." I had my horn and said, "I think I'll go by Storyville and catch Hamp's band." So, I went by Storyville and one of the Jones brothers introduced me to Hamp. And he said to Hamp, "Have you ever heard this guy play?" And Hamp said, "Well no." In his band he had a girl tenor saxophone player who was in Providence, and she got sick and had to go back to New York. So he was basically looking for a tenor player. So, he said, "Do you have your horn with you?" and I said, "Well, yeah." "Well, next set, when we go up, I'll play a tune and then I'll call you up and ask you to play." 

FRED BOUCHARD: So you were reading the book and then took a solo. 

ANDY MCGHEE: No, I didn't read the book. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Oh you didn't. Oh ok. 

ANDY MCGHEE: They had a saxophone player. Doug Leo was there, but he wasn't interested. They had somebody filling in. So he said, "Come up and play," and so I got up and played! 

FRED BOUCHARD: What tune did he call? 

ANDY MCGHEE: "Blues in E-flat." They played "Blues in E-flat." The thing about it, though, is that he just started playing the blues, he didn't tell you "Blues in E-flat," he just said come and play. So the "Blues in E-flat. So then he said, "Ok, well, tomorrow night," because Doug wasn't interested. "You'll start tomorrow night." So I came in and started, and of course he had an alto player there, one of the greatest, the most underrated alto player: Bobby Plater. He wrote "Jersey Bounce," but 

FRED BOUCHARD: He didn't get the credit for it. 

ANDY MCGHEE: He didn't get the money, but they gave him some of the credit. He wrote the tune. Great tune. He wrote it for a dancer from New Jersey. [sings] Tony Bradshaw band was at the [unintelligible] when he heard it. 

FRED BOUCHARD: He made a hit with it? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Well sure, "Jersey Bounce." Harry James--it was a hit by two or three bands years ago. Anyway, make a long story short: Bobby Plater was listening, and my reading abilityof course Bobby was straw boss, so he kinda put the okay on it. Hamp probably asked him and said, "What is he doing with the music?" and Bobby said, "Fine. " And that's the way it was. So Hamp said, "Go up and see my wife, we're leaving for Europe in two weeks and you have to have a passport." And that's how I got the gig. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Wow. So what was his wife's name Lorraine? No, what was his wife's name? 


FRED BOUCHARD: Gladys. So she set you up with the passport people? 

ANDY MCGHEE: No, she didn't do that. She just said... she just told me how much money I was going to get. And she said to get paid x many dollars, we leave in two weeks, you have to get a passport, and that's it. 

FRED BOUCHARD: And you went home and told your wife and she said? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Oh man, she was flabbergasted. Yeah. I was too, man. 

FRED BOUCHARD: A huge opportunity. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Oh, great, great. She was really happy for me. Yeah. So that was 

FRED BOUCHARD: So you were with Hamp for a few years? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Oh, yeah, six. 


ANDY MCGHEE: About six years. 

FRED BOUCHARD: You're on some of those recordings from that period. 

ANDY MCGHEE: I did an original called "McGhee." I wrote that. Of course, nationally on some of the albums you'll hear "Flying Home." I'm trying to think of some other ones. Hamp was a great player and he was funny. I might play a tune we had an arrangement written by Bobby Plater. It went: [sings] And I played the solo; it was a tenor thing. But when we got in the studio, Hamp cut the tenor out and he played the solo. So, I was kinda limited on how many solo things I did. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Hamp was a pretty versatile guy and he liked the limelight. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Oh, he was a great player. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Vibes, drums, even a little piano. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Well, yeah, the piano, he did the two fingers, that's just set up like the vibes. Hamp's ears were out of sight. He'd hear a tune and he'd like it, and in two or three minutes he'd play it. He didn't care what it was. He played anything, hip or whatever. And he would play it. 

FRED BOUCHARD: What are your most memorable gigs with Hamp? I mean all the places that you visited. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Well naturally when I first joined the band in '57 when we went to Europe. It was a whole different...Well, I did two weeks in the States, then we went to Europe. The people were so hospitable. There were two, three thousand people at a concert and that blew my mind. Not having to run around worrying about getting accommodations, hotel, or whether we're gonna sleep on the bus or not and everything. All the people, everybody, all the promoters. That was great. And the thing is we stayed eighteen weeks. So we covered all of Europe, plus we went to Africa in Algiers. 

FRED BOUCHARD: It really gives you an appreciation for the global music community when you can travel like that from country to country, and see how appreciative people can be, and how well you get treated, and their real enthusiasm for the music. It's quite a joy. 

ANDY MCGHEE: The thing about itI hadn't really been out there, but they knew. "You were with Fat Man Robinson weren't you?" Something like that. I didn't have any kind of a resume other than that, but they knew about you. They asked questions. It was amazing just to see how many people showed up. I wasMatter of fact I was really so impressed, I was thinking about moving to Europe. 

FRED BOUCHARD: A lot of people did those days. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah, but I didn't. I thought about it. I had a young daughter, and I said, "No, I think that'd be asking a little too much." 

FRED BOUCHARD: You'd have to uproot the family to do that, but guys who were solo, guys who weren't attached, a lot of them left the States in the fifties and sixties and set up themselves with good careers in Europe. 

ANDY MCGHEE: The thing that was lucky for me, Hamp only had one tenor player. He only had oneWhen I went over there they only had four saxophones, tenor players, so I did a lot of playing. I did a lot of playing. And so, just one tenor player Hamp, you know, he's a tenor so he loves tenor players you know. So, that eighteen weeks, I got a lot of exposure, you know, whatever it meant, you know, because I played a lot in the band. So naturally that was a thrill for me. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Sure thing. So we were talking across the street at Starbucks, and you told me that when you were back in Boston you were friendly with people like Charlie Mariano and Nat Pierce. And Nat Pierce was instrumental in hooking you up with Woody. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Right, I knew Charlie early because Charlie hung with us all the time when I was a student. When you said what musicians I knew, I mentioned Gigi Gryce, Jaki Byard Charlie Mariano. He was one of the regulars. And I knew Nat Pierce because Nat--Nat was the kinda guy, he knew who played and who didn't. He had a big band. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Yes he did. 

ANDY MCGHEE: He had a good big band and we were pretty good friends. 

FRED BOUCHARD: So how did it come about that Had he already gone with Woody himself? 

ANDY MCGHEE: You know I'm very lucky. When you're on the road with bands ,you're always crossing, everybody, at every festival, you see. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Right, you catch another band when your set is done. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah when you're in New York, everybody hanging out, there used to be a place calledit was a cheesecake place, The Turf. Everybody hung out downtown at The Turf. Actually they used to call it "the office," because music is so much business action; you know they had places with musicians at the Turf. And they had the place where the big time musicians would hang out with the other guys, drinking beer and stuff. You meet people and that's how youthat's how Nat and I became tight. And I'd always say to Nat, "When you gonna get me into the band?" What happened was Hamp took us to Japan, he cut the band down to eight pieces. And the band when we got there we were supposed to do a certain amount of work, six days in a weekanyway, we're getting short. We worked like crazy. We would do like three gigs in one day. It was an army base so we would go to the theatre, then we go to NCO club, then we play the officer's club--in one day. And so, I had been with the band a long time. I thought that was a little too much, so when I came back, I quit. 

FRED BOUCHARD: What you just said there, were you playing for American audiences in Japan? On bases? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Both. We were playing for both. Japanese Well, naturally, if Hamp's coming to Japan and we play in the city for the Japanese people, if it's the army base there, you know the army's gonna. 

FRED BOUCHARD: They'll want to get you too. 

ANDY MCGHEE: That's how the promoters did it. He'd book it that way. 

FRED BOUCHARD: I was just wondering how early on the Japanese public was really getting hooked on jazz. It must have been after the war, they started getting more and more American influences in there. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Well, not after, what happened is, during the occupation, they were listening to boogie woogie, listening to Bud Powell, that's who what's-her-name, the Japanese...Toshiko, Charlie Mariano married her. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Toshiko Akyoshi. 

ANDY MCGHEE: She was getting the records, she was picking up Bud Powell, listening toThey became more or less Americanized musically because of the occupation. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Yeah, they like baseball. They like scotch whiskey. You know they really dug a lot of things from Western culture. 

ANDY MCGHEE: It's influence, yeah, I guess, the influence of America. But the thing about it that amazed me most of all was when I was in the army, when I was in Japan R&R. I sat in with the Japanese group just because I wanted to play. And how quick...boy I'll never forget the guy who said do you know, did I know "Move?" [sings] I said, "Yeah," and I started singing it and he just started writing it down like he was writing a letter. [Fred whistles] I was very impressed with that. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Did you know Sadao Watanabe? 


FRED BOUCHARD: He was a tenor player who came from Japan here to Berklee. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Oh yeah, I knew--I didn't know Watanabe then. He was with Joe Viola wasn't he? 

FRED BOUCHARD: I bet he was. Yes he was. 

ANDY MCGHEE: I didn't get a chance to really meet him, but I met him 'cause he was one of the guys, when he came from the library and came over and looked through the book, he recommended that one of my books should be put in Japanese. 

FRED BOUCHARD: You just gave a good example of what a quick study the Japanese people are and things that they like. I heard--Harvard radio did a show on historical Japanese jazz performances on the radio a few weeks ago and I was amazed at the high quality of the Japanese jazz bands in the fifties. I was flippin out. I never heard anything like it. It really surprised me. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. When we were in Japan we played at Hanah Basha, it was a club, and they hadat this club they had three bands: they had Lionel Hampton and friends, then a Glen Miller type of band, all Japanese, and then they had a Latin band, doing the Latin thing. In one club! And they had it down--'course Hamp was very, Mrs. Hampton was very clever. She broke the band down to eight pieces and when we got to Japan, she'd augment the band with Japanese players. So there was, with the emperor and all those people, they were very impressed that he did this. When we got to Japan it was like a standing ovation for us, the way they integrated the band. Hamp was smart, you know. 

FRED BOUCHARD: It's good business and good relations. 

ANDY MCGHEE: The piano player--I don't know his Japanese name-- Poosan. He is very famous. But we call him Poosan, which sounds Korean. He was a pianist and he came here and played. He's famous. 

FRED BOUCHARD: But you know, in succeeding generations, you don't hear too many Japanese horn players. I mean Tiger Okoshi is an exception. But you don'tDid you have a lot of hip Japanese students when you were teaching here? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah, yeah, just last year! I had one student, alto player, I forgot his name. He could play. 

FRED BOUCHARD: So there are some? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Oh yeah. 

FRED BOUCHARD: It seems to me they mostly go to guitar and piano. 

ANDY MCGHEE: No, I'm very, I'm not embarrassed, but I just can't remember the alto player. He was excellent. He was an excellent player. 

FRED BOUCHARD: That's okay. Anyway, I didn't want to get ahead of ourselves here. So you had a great time with Hamp for six years, and then you eased yourself into Woody's band? How did that transition take place? 

ANDY MCGHEE: [laughing] Like I said, I was lucky. I was lucky. Let me say one thing, one thing I learned in Hamp's band is to always try to play your best. Hamp was this type of player: if he had three people in his audience he would play like there were 3,000. If there were 3,000 he'd play the same way. I used to watch and I was amazed, especially at the Metropole--it's a band straight--at how he would play. And that kinda rubbed off on me. I acquired that. I tried to play the best I could. And I think one night, Woody came in on the side and just slipped in and heard the band. There was nobody in there, not that many people... Anyway, I left--when I quit Hamp's band, I went around to catch Woody's band. And I said, "I think I'll my wife tomorrow, I won't tell her tonight that I'm leavin Hamp." I went around and Nat Pierce was playing and he said, "You know," turned around, "I'm just fittin' to call your house," He said, "Well, wait till the set is over and I want to talk with you." And I said, "Okay." So I stayed there, so Nat said, "Sal is leaving, you want to come in the band?" 

FRED BOUCHARD: Sal Nistico? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah. He said Sal is leaving, Fontaine was leaving 

FRED BOUCHARD: Paul Fontaine. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Kenny Wenzel. Anyway, he said, 'cause I mentioned them and Woody said he had heard you. And I said, "Well yeah." Being a good businessman, I said, "I'm still with Hamp's band," you know. I said, "Well, I've been with Hamp's band for six years." And he said, "I know that. We'll meet tomorrow--you and I will just have coffee with Woody and we'll talk." So, the next day I met Woody and talked it over, ,and two weeks later I was in the band. 

FRED BOUCHARD: There was no down time. No down time. You switched transitions. 

ANDY MCGHEE: That's how lucky I was. 

FRED BOUCHARD: That wasn't luck, it was that lesson you learned with Ham: run out the ground balls. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Well, yeah, whatever it was. But I call it luck because I was saying to myself going back to Boston, ain't nothing happening there, you know. But I wasn't worried about it because my wife was such a great lady. I just thought that Mrs. Hampton didn't do us right, and I just quit. And I just walked in and got in Woody's band. Just like that. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Real smooth. 

ANDY MCGHEE: That was luck. And the funniest thing about it was my last day with Hamp, I ended up in New England up in Tanglewood. So, I just came right home from Massachusetts. You have to pay your own way home. I had a cousin in Springfield, so he picked me up and I just rode home. I was lucky. I was a very lucky guy. That's how I got with Woody's band. But Nat Pierce was the man, I always have a lot of respect for him. A lot of guys forget about you, you know. They're tight, but when it comes to the gigs and all that they play politics. They play politics, you know--they get their boys. 

FRED BOUCHARD: I remember you just saying that some band leaders hire your students instead of hiring you. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Some of my friends who.playing gigs you know, they talk and we hang together but when it's time, when gig time come, they hire maybe a student of mine. I won't even go into that, but that's ... 

FRED BOUCHARD: Who else in Woody's big band was from Boston like Nat was? Were there some other Boston cats in the band? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Oh the band was loaded, oh! Tom [unintelligible], remember him? Baritone player, he died very young, that was unfortunate. Phil Wilson was there. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Another local boy who put a lot of years in at Berklee. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah, Phil was there, Bill Chase was there... 

FRED BOUCHARD: Jake Hannah. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Jake Hannah was there. And the bass player was from Springfield. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Who's he? Who was that? 

ANDY MCGHEE: I've forgotten his name. 

FRED BOUCHARD: It's okay. Not Chubby Jackson. 

ANDY MCGHEE: No not Chubby. 

FRED BOUCHARD: But I mean... I think Woody had already come down here and raided Berklee to get some of these guys. 

ANDY MCGHEE: I don't know about you know... it's not like that. Nat Pierce was the man. He would write down names of guys that would fit certain places. You know what I mean? He would go into town and would say so-and-so-and-so-and-so... 'Cause everybody can't take everybody's place. You know who he brought in for Fontaine, he brought in Dusko Goykovich. So we all came in the same--Dusko Goykovich came in the same time I came in. So Dusko Goykovich took his place--he knew about Dusko Goykovich, he knew about me because I was taking Sal's place, and thenby him being that smart. if Bill Chase, which is Boston, lead trumpet player--well, you wouldn't have called Dusko Goykovich to play lead, he would have somebody else play lead. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Right like Lin Biviano or somebody who can play the top notes. 

ANDY MCGHEE: But Nat Pierce was aware of what was happening for it the musical concerns. So, Dusko came in the band at the same time: it was Dusko Goykovich and Bob Stru.I think...that's probably not right. He took Kenny Wenzel's place. Of course Phil was playing lead. Phil can tell you who he was. He took...That was it. Those were the two replacements in the band. 

FRED BOUCHARD: So, how was Woody's band different from Hamp's band? 

ANDY MCGHEE: No difference. Basically. It's a hard swinging band. That's why I got there. Well naturally it's different in sound because he uses three tenors and a baritone. What I'm saying, I'm not saying they both sound the same, I'm saying they're both swingin. I mean, that's it, you know. 

FRED BOUCHARD: What about... did they hit the same circuit of places? Did they go to the same cities or the same? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Well, Hamp, I think Hamp was in Europe most Hamp went to Europe every year. I was in Woody's band three years, we only went once. 

FRED BOUCHARD: May have had to do with the economics at the time as well. A little bit later in the evolution of the big band career. In the fifties I think there was probably more business, more international business. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Well yeah, Hamp... I think Hamp was the first big band that went over. Hamp was really pretty established in Europe, you know. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Dizzy did a big state department tour, but that was a political thing. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Well, he must have done it after Hamp. Because Hamp's band was the first. In fact, you know Hamp, you know who was in that band? When Hamp first went to Europe: Cliff Brown, Alan DawsonI'm not sureGigi Gryce and maybe some other guys. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Was Quincy Jones in the band? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Quincy Jones! That's the band... because that was Hamp, he just made that band up. 

FRED BOUCHARD: That was some bad cats. 

ANDY MCGHEE: He took that band. And the funny thing about that story is Alan Dawson came by to see us in Atlantic City, 'cause he was still in the Army. He and I were tight because we were in the army band together in Fort Dicks. Clarence Johnson told Alan that Hamp was organizing the band to go to Europe. 

FRED BOUCHARD: You know you're right. That was '52 that they went... 

ANDY MCGHEE: That was '54. 

FRED BOUCHARD: I think that was before Dizzy. I think Dizzy went a year later. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah, that was '54. So, Hamp... So they told Alan. And Alan went over there and took that gig, and that band went to Europe. That was '54. 

FRED BOUCHARD: That's right. I think Dizzy came a year or two later. And the State department underwrote it. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Hamp was the first. State department didn't bring Hamp over. Hamp was brought over by the hot jazz magazine who got it from Belgium, brought 'em over. The hot jazz. 

FRED BOUCHARD: And you got sixteen, eighteen weeks out of it? Oh no, that was a different tour, that was the earlier tour. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Hamp was king. I've never seen so many people in my life at a concert. It was amazing. 

FRED BOUCHARD: So Woody didn't get the same kind of draw? He would play ballrooms but not big concerts? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Ballrooms? Where you getting...He played all those places that political speeches were made by Adolf. We played big places, I mean, in Germany we played all those places where they had all those big rallies, political rallies. We're talkin two, three thousand people! In Berlin, they let some of the people from East Berlin come in--of course, they had the wall. I bet you there were five thousand people. It was just It was amazing. I couldn't believe it. So, Hamp, he was really big in Europe. He played a great show. Plus play. 

FRED BOUCHARD: So, how did your time go with Woody? I mean, it was a good time? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Oh, great. It was really, really, really nice. Woody was real nice person, and he was very cool. He said, "Andy, look I'm glad to have you in the band." Of course he made a statement that he didn't hire me because I was Black or anything, he just liked the way I play. So he wrote a whole article about that. He said, "Look if you ever have any problems as long as you're in the band, come to me, I'll straighten it out." I appreciate that. It was very nice. All the time I was there, I only had a problem one time. That's it. 

FRED BOUCHARD: That's good. It's nice to get that settled when you arrive. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah, but not only---when I joined the band, the next week Joe Carroll joined the band too. 


ANDY MCGHEE: Joe Carroll 

FRED BOUCHARD: How long was he with you? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Well he just didWe were on our way to Lake Tahoe. Phil will probably talk you about that. And they did the thing together, "Wa-Wa Blues," Yeah, Phil did that arrangement. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Joe was a gas. What a great singer wow. 

ANDY MCGHEE: After Lake Tahoe I think they didn't carry a singer anymore, but Joe Carroll was there too. 


ANDY MCGHEE: I'm sure Phil will talk to you about that 'cause he and Phil did the thing together, "Wa-Wa Blues." 

FRED BOUCHARD: Yeah, you guys were in the band kind of about the same time. Phil was a little ahead of you by a year, year and a half. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah Phil They were probably They were featuring Phil on the... 

FRED BOUCHARD: "Lonesome Old Town." 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah yeah. Of course Phil played great lead, you know. So Phil had been there for a while. When we came in that kind of uprooted the band. The band was kind of together for a while, 'cause Sal was a hell of a tenor player. He kind of put the band back on track. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Yeah, Woody had a bunch of herds from '48 on. They'd come and go and come and go. But that was a very strong band you were on. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Well, yeah. With Sal, they call it the Swingin Herd instead of the number herd. And Sal did "Sister Sadie" and a couple other tunes. I have to give him credit because that picked the band up and got them back on track. Herb Wong was worrying about that because when Sal left Herb to report out in California, he was so upset 'cause Sal had gone. He flew all the way out to New York to see who was gonna take Sal's place. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Yeah, what did he have to say about you? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Well, after he heard me, what could he say? He said, "Well ok." But, he was really really concerned. And then later, we did "Dr. Wong's Bag" and I played the solo on it. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Oh I don't know that one. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Nat wrote a thing called "Dr. Wong's Bag" and he was very happy with that. But he was, he was very upset. [Laughs] He was upset. I just saw him when we did the tribute to Woody, two or three years ago, when we moved Woody's grave from one place to another. I talked to Herb. He was there. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Oh, is that right? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah and I asked him and we laughed about it. Phil--when we went out there, we took a trip out to Woody and had all the guys, you know, so I was in that. And I played in the Dues Band with Phil and I did "Sister Sadie." 

FRED BOUCHARD: The whole Dues Band went out? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Oh, yeah. Ask Phil about it. The singer, Miles, she was there... 

FRED BOUCHARD: Oh Alisa Miles? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah. They had John LaPorta there. They had Terry Gibbs. They had Joe Romana... No, it was Joe Lovano. 


ANDY MCGHEE: Joe Lovano. They had Woody Herman's band, with the leader, Fred... they had him with his band 

FRED BOUCHARD: Frank Tiberi? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Frank Tiberi, yeah! They had the band and we did a thing together with three tenors and battled a thing out there. And they had Terry Gibbs. They had everybody that had been... Twenty, twenty-five guys for Woody's band. And that was a tribute to him, and I played with the Dues band. I just played one tune. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Great, great. That's nice. 

ANDY MCGHEE: It was nice. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Yeah, I always dug Herb. He's quite a character. I see him at the conventions and we talk a little bit. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Oh yeah, he's mellowed down a bit. He was very--boy, he was upset. [Laughs] We laughed about that. 

FRED BOUCHARD: So, you were with Woody for two and half, three years, and then there was another crossroads in your life where you were gonna settle down and teach here in Boston or were you gonna go on the road with another great band. Why don't you tell us about that? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah. We were in San Francisco and I'll never forget it. We'd just left Chicago. And we were going west, in San Francisco, and Woody gave me a raise. Yeah, he gave me a raise. When we got to San Francisco his agent said we were going to do State Department tour. State Department. And I looked at the itinerary and after the State Department we were going back to the West Coast. To make a long story... the way it was set up I wouldn't get to see my family for maybe about four or five months, the way the itinerary was set up. But I wasn't worrying about that because I figured some of the places I could send for them. But I had an agreement with Woody about when I left the country the finances would change and what not, you know, that was the agreement with him: when I go to Europe or something like that my money would increase a certain amount of money. When you go to the State Department they give you a residual. 


ANDY MCGHEE: A residual. I knew about it, a lot of guys didn't know. Those musicians, they're nice guys, but some of 'em, business-wise, they don't know what's going on. But, I knew about that. I knew that the government was gonna give us more money. He'd say, "That's it. That's the residual, that's it. That's as more as you can get." I don't know, I was kinda thinkingI had been thinking anyway--I had just been down the street and heard Coltrane and I came back, and I was thinkingAnd I said to myself, you know--and we were having this bus problem in Boston, this thing. The bus problem and all that stuff. And I just started thinking, you know, I had been away out here for about ten years or so. And my wife--I got two kids and she's still fighting, you know, she's telling me about the problems in school, you know. I said, "I think I'll quit. I don't want toThat's it. That's a long time". And since Abe--he went to, he was clever about his answers, you know, with me, you know. He said, "Oh Nat, get rid of him." Anyway, so I just quit. I just put my notice in and left. That's it. And of course, Woody was kind of withdrawn in a way. He was a nice man. But I just told him--you know, we were going to England, and then [unintelligible] joined the band. So, we were going to England, and I told Woody not to worry about the two week notice. 'Cause Sal was in Sweden, and he could get Sal to join around the band in England and it would be finished. And he said, "Okay." And I came home. And that's it. But the part that was difficult for me--no, it wasn't that difficult--but after I had been home for a week, two weeks, I get a telegram from Willie Alexander with the Count Basie band asking me if I was interested in joining the band in Florida. They were doing a Japanese thing. They left me a number; if I was interested, call this number and confirm it. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Willard Alexander booked all the bands so they knew who was with who. They knew you left Woody. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah. They knew. You know it's a funny thing with how those agents, the funny thing, man, there was kind of a funny deal going. Me, Sal, and Frank Foster. Sal went with Basie, and we were kinda bouncing around, and those guys know who does what, you know. And of course I had Bobby Plater, Robert Plater, was lead there and Lockjaw. They knew me. They've had some input. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Carmen Leggio? 

ANDY MCGHEE: No Lockjaw, Eddie Davis. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Oh, Lockjaw, Lockjaw, sorry. 

ANDY MCGHEE: So Lockjaw probably said, " [unintelligible]Andy, he ain't playing my stuff anyway." [Both laugh] And so I got a telegram to join Basie's band. And I gave it a little thought. I said to my wife, "I always wanted to play with this band, what do you think?" She said, "I'm not touching it." She said, "I'm not gonna sit here, and you looking at the television saying, 'I could have been there.'" She was clever. That did it. When she said that, I didn't even reverse the charges. I called Willie Alexander and thanked him and told him that I couldn't do it. But it was kind of a hard decision. But her response, the way she responded, very negative--I mean, not negative, very open, saying, "No, you do whatever."---that did it. I think if I'd thought about it longer I would have gone. Just the expression on her face when she said that, that's it. I said no. I just cut it. I won't do it. 

FRED BOUCHARD: So big decisions come down to phone call or no phone call, you know what I mean? 


FRED BOUCHARD: And you don't regret it. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Oh, no. That's when I started working with the organ group. No, I didn't regret it. Once I make a decision, man, I try not to look back on it. Even today I don't try to second-guess myself. The older you get the better you get at it. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Yeah. Or you just can't bear to look back sometimes. I've been in those positions where you know I made a bad decision but just bite my lip and say, "I've got to move on." Don't even think about it, it's passed. 

ANDY MCGHEE: That's right. Well, of course I had a good reason to look [unintelligible] because my kids were growing up in school and I had to get them in, I got my daughters in [unintelligible] and Brookline High School. So I had to think about, too. And I kinda put that moment over my career right then. Because ten years out there, you know, switching from one place to another. So that was it. So I workedWhat I did, I donated an hour of my time in the South End Music School to start a little jazz band. So, they gave me a couple of hours of teaching, very little money, but I started this little...And you know one of the guys that came in one time and sat in and brought a trumpet player? Garzone. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Really? George? 

ANDY MCGHEE: George. I had a little band over there. And Mr. Berk heard about it and he gave me some music, and I had these.South End Music School on Rutlandand Garzone came over and played and brought a trumpet player. I couldn't keep it up because I couldn't afford the family. But through that I got a job at All Newton Music School in Newton. That when it went all'cause I was doing alright. I was working with the organ group. Good organ group. I was teaching at All Newton Music School so everything was getting all right. 

FRED BOUCHARD: But now Larry Berk knew about you? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Well, I'm tryin to figure out how did they found out I needed some music. They told me to go in the library and pick anything I wanted. 


ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah, well, Larry's a genius, he's a smart man, you know. Unless I asked him for it, I can't remember if I did or not... Anyway, they gave me some music, and of course when the summer broke up that kinda faded away. 

FRED BOUCHARD: So you had like three horn charts right? 

ANDY MCGHEE: No, no, no, I had three saxophone players. Then, Garzone came in just for a while. Then I had the one little trumpet player. No, I was just playing regular band stuff. Yeah, you know. I was gonna try to write something, but it was just something to get it started. And I had a good rhythm section. Anyway, the guy's name was Novak. He was head of the place and he introduced me to the Swiss lady[Anne Gombosi?]. I never could pronounce it correctly. She was head of All Newton Music School and she hired me to teach out there. So I was teaching out there on Fridays and doing the organ group and things 

FRED BOUCHARD: So you were there for, what, a couple years? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Up until Charlie recommended me to Berklee. When Charlie got ready to leave, Mr. Berk--John was, they were debating 'cause John didn't want--Charlie was gonna leave in the middle of a semester. 

FRED BOUCHARD: You said he was getting antsy, wanted to get out on the road again. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah, Charlie couldn'tTeaching was getting to Charlie. But he couldn't wait till the end of the semester so Mr. Berk--he loved Charlie. Mr. Berk loved all the players. There's nothing I can say greater than what a pleasure of meeting Larry Berk. He said, "Well, Charlie, you got to get somebody with some kind of experience and background that you have..." So Charlie said, "I got the man: Andy McGhee." 

FRED BOUCHARD: He had known you for twenty years. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah, I'd known him for twenty years. 

FRED BOUCHARD: From the Conservatory days. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah, when I first came here, of course, he was at the jam sessions at Wally's, same with us. And Charlie said, "Andy." So Mr. Berk said, "Okay." After, you know, I talked to Bob Share. 


ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah, I talked to Bob Share, and then I talked to Mr. Berk later. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Bob Share, wow, he was a beautiful guy. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah. I talked with him and then I talked with Charlie. That was nice. Charlie manThat was great for me to get a little settled, because I was getting sick of the organ group too. 

FRED BOUCHARD: So here you were, you were settled in Boston, you had your family growing up. And you had a teaching gig at Berklee. You were set. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah, I was set. I was working hourly. And then I got--what happened after I got there at Berklee, I met John LaPorta. I took Charlie's place, and Charlie had all ensembles, so I had hours of bands. I had at least six bands. 


ANDY MCGHEE: No, I had the weird band, I had a small band, which was a nine-piece with music by Tony Teixeira ... 

FRED BOUCHARD: Oh sure. I remember seeing that band. 

ANDY MCGHEE: I had that band. Tony wrote the music for that band. And then I had a jazz ensemble with Richie Cole, Tony GermaineGrossman 

FRED BOUCHARD: Steve Grossman? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Not Steve, his brother, Hal Grossman. A good drummer, I can't think of his name right now. I had that group, and then another band. 

FRED BOUCHARD: What was the weird band? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Who were they? 

FRED BOUCHARD: Well, yeah, ok. 

ANDY MCGHEE: They were it was a band. It was a weird band. And they were weird too. It was kind of avant-garde type of music and stuff. I can't remember all the guys' names. But It wasn't the [snaps fingers] thing, it was different. 

FRED BOUCHARD: And you jumped right into this? You had this all set up Charlie left and you jumped in? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Well, yeah, I had to. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Andy leaped in. [both laugh] 

ANDY MCGHEE: You can put it that way, 'cause the guys in the weird band, they looked at me strange, you know. Charlie's a big name and Charlie's strange too. Charlie's just the opposite of me. Charlie will say, "Man, that sucked" and I'd say, "Well, that's not so good. " 

FRED BOUCHARD: You were a little more diplomatic. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Diplomatic yeah. Charlie was different. But they were kinda strange. I was ambitious, you know, how I'll tell you how I got over with those guys? You know what I did? 


ANDY MCGHEE: They were the best players in Berklee. They were all over, they were in different bands, Herb's band and different mix, they were good players. I went and got--they had some difficult music. I went in the library and got a Count Basie chart, "Cute." 

FRED BOUCHARD: Yeah, Neal Hefti. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah, but man theythey started giggling! That arrangement was like a high school arrangement--it's a Basie arrangement, but it's very easy. 

FRED BOUCHARD: It's got those little pauses in it. It is easy, but it's nice. 

ANDY MCGHEE: I know, but man, them cats, they were like. [snorts]. They were like, "Man, you gotta be kidding." I guess they assumed I was going to bring in some heavy chops and things. 

FRED BOUCHARD: But you had a reason for that. 


FRED BOUCHARD: Get their time right. 

ANDY MCGHEE: They had trouble playing it. [nods] I knew that. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Yep, all those little pauses got to be right on the button. 

ANDY MCGHEE: The tempo, the tempo. And I put it slower than what it was. So they were having trouble. They were laughing and giggling until I said, "No"and that way I kind of bailed out of...but that was kind of a tough band, you know, that was kind of scary, I didn't know what to do with that. [both laugh] 

FRED BOUCHARD: I remember that. That was on the E=mc^2 album. Ernie Royal was playing lead, I think, on that? 

ANDY MCGHEE: I don't know really. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Yeah, but that's a great great album. 

ANDY MCGHEE: It's like a type of arrangement that all high school bands play. Anyway,.. 

FRED BOUCHARD: But that was a reality lesson for those guys. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah. And later, they kind of started to give a little more respect. Like they weren't going to sleep as often. But after that, there were so many ensembles, John LaPorta called me and said, "Andy, man, I'd like for you to be in my department." So I went into John LaPorta's department and I did all his courses. I did a bunch of his stuff and I cut down on the ensembles. Yeah, that was good. And I was able to get into another department, which was wonderful. You know Ted Pease's Arranging department. I liked that. So I had a little more variety. Then Lennie Johnson Then John Laporta brought Lennie Johnson in. 

FRED BOUCHARD: He was playing with Herb's band at the time. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah, well, he's been playing with Herb's band all the time. But, John's the one that brought him in. 


ANDY MCGHEE: He had been playing with Herb. Lennie'd been playing with Herb. Herb was-- Lennie was doing some kind of a day job. But John LaPorta's the one that brought him in. Then Jimmy Mosher came in. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Oh, Jimmy yeah. 

ANDY MCGHEE: But I was doing a lot of John's stuff. So that's the way that went. After I did the John LaPorta thing for a while, I started getting private students and I enjoyed that. And Joe Viola asked me did I want to come in the Woodwind department. And that's what I did. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Who are some of your prized students to come out of that? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Oh man. I got Richie Cole, Greg Osby, Antonio Hart, Javon JacksonThere's another one named Oliver 

FRED BOUCHARD: Ralph Moore. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Ralph that's Ralph Moore. 

FRED BOUCHARD: And then your boss. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Oh my boss. [both laugh] That's right. My boss. My two bosses! Bill Pierce and Matt Marvuglio. Yep that's right. I also--he didn't say it, but Joe Viola was a little upset because Joe Lovano said that Joe was his first teacher, but that 's not right. I was his first teacher. One semester. That bothered Joe 'cause Joe called me up about that because he was very upset about that. That's it. I think Joe Lovano was here one semester or something so it, probably, you know... Yeah I was his first teacher. There's a couple other guys. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Donald Harrison? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Not Don, I had Don Harrison in my ensemble. Don Harris. But man there's some other young guys that.Oh, Neil Shaw... 


ANDY MCGHEE: Jaleel Shaw. Oh, man. And I also had Walter for one semester. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Walter Smith? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah, Walter Smith. 

FRED BOUCHARD: He's something else. 

ANDY MCGHEE: He's something else, but I only had him for one semester. The rest of the guys I had for more. I had Ralph Moore for about five semesters. There's some other guys that are playing, now that I catch their name, boy, great players, man. Oh Tim Price. Can't forget him because he's the only one that I hear from every Christmas. He never fails to thank me for helping him. 

FRED BOUCHARD: What was the most important lesson that you had for all these guys? I mean what were one or two principles that you had that were really vital? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Well, my whole thing is to be very truthful. You know, when it hurts? I mean as a teacher I'm not too diplomatic. You know, like I was talking about Fitz Reynold. I mentioned to him he needed to work on his time and he got bent out of shape. So, we never communicate. But I do that: I hear a student play, write down all his good points, and I write down the bad points, and then I tell them, "This part we'll talk about the good part, but I'm gonna work on this." And if it deals with time, his ear, or whatever, I tell him. I don't just say you know everything's cool. I just tell him that that's what we gotta work on. And if you're gonna play jazz, which a lot of students don't want to hear, is you got to have ear and you got to have time. Ears can be fixed. I mean you can teach a person to hear, I think. The one thing I haven't found out how to straighten out is if a guy doesn't know where one's at. I haven't found how to correct that yet. You know if he has a time problem I work different things. Some I solved, some I haven't. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Yeah that's a hand-eye-brain coordination and ear isvery, very delicate neural synapses at work there. And it's not something you can... You either got it or you don't have it. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Well the ear thing, I can train. 'Cause a lot of kids can hear but they don't know what they're hearing. You can make them hear that. But time, metered time, I haven't found out anything how to solve that, yet. I mean I've helped it. I know certain things will help time and stuff like that. 

FRED BOUCHARD: But it's good to give students that initial assessment. You hear them play, you say, "These are your good points, these are your not so good points." 

ANDY MCGHEE: It worked, but it's a disadvantage when you get a kid that's a star from Crossroads Junction and he's the best player, and when somebody tells him that this area has a problem, you got to do it some kind of way, I don't know. 

FRED BOUCHARD: I've heard students say that. They come from being a big fish in a small pond, to come into the big city, and all of a sudden, they're not number one anymore! 

ANDY MCGHEE: Especially here at Berklee. Because, you see, when you come to Berklee--you were in high school and you come here and you the great player, and then you might have a kid that's from Japan or from Europe who's already played professionally who's coming here to work on some more things, and all of a sudden he realize he's not the best, he's not the child prodigy they say he is. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Right. This is like a huge melting pot. Where everybody's checking everybody else out. You're learning where you really fall in the big picture of things. 

ANDY MCGHEE: The thing I found out is a lot of experience of teaching, which when I was younger, I was very just definite. I've tried to do it verbally, easier, in a more diplomatic way. Diplomatic way--not taken away from it, but through my verbal approach is very different so it don't really knock 'em down. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Yeah you don't want to bruise their egos too much. 

ANDY MCGHEE: No, I don't want to--especially dealing with someone that's a kid. Very important, and I think a teacher, especially, they say, "Oh I'm studying with Andy McGhee," and they... you know. I have a lot ofYou have a lot of influence on people's children. 

FRED BOUCHARD: That's true. 

ANDY MCGHEE: So you got to do it. Well, that took me a time, 'cause when I first started teaching, Right away I'd be, say, "Man, look your time is out." 

FRED BOUCHARD: So you learned how to gloss it over a bit and make it a little more encouraging. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah, I try tojust a little softer. 

FRED BOUCHARD: It takes a while. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah, it takes a while. Tony would say--Tony's my man--but Tony Teixeira would say, "So-and-so can you drive truck" You know he was always[laughs] 


ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah, he was funny. He was a funny cat. 

FRED BOUCHARD: He wrote some great stuff. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Fantastic musician. Great loss. Great loss, when he passed away. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Much too young. 

ANDY MCGHEE: We did a lot of jingles and things together. Hard work. Music was his life. That was one of the praises of being at Berklee. 

FRED BOUCHARD: I caught that band with him and Alan in the rhythm section. And all you guys up front. That was a gas. Did they make any records? 

ANDY MCGHEE: No. They had Jimmy Durban on baritonewe had. 

FRED BOUCHARD: There must be some tapes around. 

ANDY MCGHEE: No, it was a rehearsal band. Tony was a straight guy. He's got a rehearsal band, he's got Alan Dawson, and he's got me, he's got Jimmy Durban stuff like that. He would never record the band becauseguys like myself, when you start saying, "Look, let's record you," we're talking about some money. People, the etiquette is not in the music business. "Let's do a recording, let's do this." You got to tell Alan, well, wait a minute, and me, well, record for what? 

FRED BOUCHARD: Right, is this a rehearsal tape, or is this going out to the public, kind of thing? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Well even that, they don't even want that. It's a rehearsal band. We rehearse and that's it. Unfortunate that music-business wise it got so.I don't know the word for it. Etiquette...guys take your music, make some money and you get nothing. 

FRED BOUCHARD: What are some of the other high points of your career here at Berklee? Some of the most satisfying events or achievements that you've had here at Berklee? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Well one of theWhen I first came here, one of the high points was I met so many good musicians and good.when I first came. I was able to converse with anybody. We were really close. I could work with everybody. To meet John LaPorta, Alan, and all those guys, Herb. And then, of course, the high point of being a friend of Mr. Berk and Joe Viola, those are the kind of high points. Of course, naturally one of the highest points is the fact that, three or four years ago they gave me a tribute. I thought that was very Larry McCullen, he worked that out. That's one of the things. It was lot of musical, good musical things that I couldn't really pinpoint. I'm just talking about from the feeling part. I didn't feel like I was going to a job, you know. I was able do something with everybody, you know I mean it was close. And then Mr. Berk--if I had to talk to him about anything I didn't have to go through a whole, you know, system. I'd knock on the door or something. [laughs] 

FRED BOUCHARD: Personal, one-on-one. 

ANDY MCGHEE: One-on-one. 

FRED BOUCHARD: What was Larry like as a person? I only saw him at public events. I didn't get to know him close. 

ANDY MCGHEE: He was a very smart man. Very smart, very smart. Good businessman. He was tough, business-wise. He would make you feel real good. They would say sometimes that you'd go in, ask for a raise, and you'd leave smiling and didn't get it. [both laugh] That wasn't my case, he was always concerned. You could always talk to him if you had any personal problems. He was one of the guys. The main thing that impressed me about him, too, he was interested in the art. That's the thing that bothers me today. He was interested in, and he recognized that jazz is the only art form of music that is all American. He knew about it. He played a little piano. He and I used to do "Tea for Two." He understood what he wanted to do. And that's why--nobody else wanted to do this type of thing, deal with jazz, you know. When he started an all jazz school, New England Conservatory, they were laughing. Well not laughing, but it's jazz school. 


ANDY MCGHEE: Well they say, you know, what, all jazz? But this is what...but he understood that and he loved it. He loved it. 

FRED BOUCHARD: He was one of the few people who, as you say, combined jazz and business in a creative fashion. George Wein was another guy. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah, well, I wouldn't make that comparison. I know both of them, I don't know George that well. 

FRED BOUCHARD: But he was a player who was a businessman, and he made his life with the music. I mean, different kind of personality. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah George is different. I have to say George kept the art going through--George Wein. He worked hard to keep quality music going. I got to give him credit for that. I didn't know him as well as Mr. Berk. Mr. Berk and I became good friends. And we talked, I could talk about anything with him 

FRED BOUCHARD: But artistic level of excellence was a very important factor for him. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah yeah. That's the same thing, too, with George. You know, with the Newport Jazz Festival. I did some things with George. But the personality was a little different. George, you know--he's a businessman too, and he was looking at himself a little bit. [mimics playing piano] He's kinda looking at himself in the mirror at himself. 

FRED BOUCHARD: He wanted to play a little more, not be in the background so much. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah. It was nothing for him to sit in with Coltrane or anybody [mimics playing piano] which would be out of place. [both laugh] You know what I mean? I think he's carrying it a little too far. 

FRED BOUCHARD: What kind of progressions have you seen in the evolution of jazz? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Progression? 

FRED BOUCHARD: Yeah, in other words, you said when you came back from being with Woody and you said you went to hear Coltrane, you were kinda like reassessing things or seeing how music is developing. Since that time, what other progressions have you seen in the evolution of music that either please you or disturb you? We were both disturbed about hip-hop. But what other phases of the jazz world that you've seen that you dig or don't dig? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Well, I'll tell ya. What irritates me with young people when they say--they start talking about Coltrane, and they start talking about Sam Rivers, and they start talking about this guy I know both of those guys well. And those guys can play any style, and they practice, and they have forty years of experience. And they start playing something a little different from other people, and they figure that they did it in forty years but they can do it in two years. It doesn't work that way. It's a process. Now whether I like some... I know some of them would say I'm crazy, but some of the things I heard Coltrane do that night, I didn't like it. But I know what he stands for and that's good. I didn't go there as a saxophone player. I went there as a person and my feelings inside saying I didn't like it. Because when I left there, I was hurting inside. Two drums and things. But I know that Coltrane can--the stuff he plays, how much he practices. They say if you passed Trane's house and he wasn't practicing, he wasn't at home. I know Trane personally. When we travelled with Woody's band, he practiced all the time during the tour, I never seen him outside on the sidewalk of Paris drinking wine or anything. I had my wife, I was having a ball. He was practicing and I know this. And then the young... the interpretations that young people get disturb me because saxophone is the easiest instrument to play badly. And there's a lot of bad players out there. They think they're playing. And that bothers me as a teacher and it bothers my ears. When you start saying "free bag" and stuff like that to me, that's a cop out. Learn to play and do all the stuff and everything. Then if you want to free yourself...They spend two years playing free bag. Free from what? They can't play! And that upsets me. Today, it's like I said, I heard Trane and I know what Trane can do. The night that I heard Trane, he had two drummers, he had Phil Sommers there. And when I left there, inside of me--I wasn't talking about saxophone, because I would never even compare myself to what Trane can do with saxophone, it wasn't that--I just said my feeling. I probably would want to slap my wife if I had seen her. That's the feeling that I had, and that's not the feeling that I want. That's not the feeling that I want when I .... 

FRED BOUCHARD: No. I hear that kind of rage and disquiet and discomfort, unhappiness with a lot of the new music I hear nowadays. It makes me sick. I don't want to listen to it. It's too upsetting. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Too upsetting. If people want to hear that, that's great. If you want to be upset, great. But when I go, it has nothing to do with old school or new school. When I go to hear Joe, or Dexter Gordon, or any of the saxophone players--Joe Henderson, Joe Lovano, anybody, Bill Pierce. I go there not as a saxophone player. When I go [unintelligible], I don't go there to be a jazz critic. If I was writer, okay. You go--you're a writer, you go for two reasons: the feeling and the other things too, which is good. When I go there, it's not as a saxophone player. And when I leave that place, if inside of me I feel good--I don't care who, it doesn't have to be one of those guys, it could be a guy I'd never heard--I like it. But when I leave there, and I'm upset and nervous and all that... That's not what jazz is all about, as far as I'm concerned. And like I said, saxophone is an easy instrument to play badly and also they're murdering the piano. [Fred laughs] Those guys who are great as a kid, great background, and learn good teachers and learn good classical music and everything; then they find out, "I can't make it in classical. Well, I'll play jazz." [mimics playing piano] Boom. Next week, they're a jazz player. [Andy shrugs. Fred laughs] That's where classical got the advantage, you just can't do that. You can't play Bud Powell and then say, "Now I'm gonna play me some classical music." [mimics playing piano] You know and start playing classical. But in the opposite--you get a classical players all over the piano, and then all of a sudden they say they can't make it, and they say, "Well, shit, I'll play some jazz." [mimics playing piano] And then they're jazz players. But if they don't know where one's at, that they say "avant-garde." And that's happened in jazz. They can dislike me and anything. I hear some tenor player---their playing, it just disturbs me. My radio cuts off. It just disturbs me. And I can tell from, their playing in the first place, he doesn't have a good sound and that he's using tricks because there's certain keys that you can do tricks in--B-flat--and you can do overtones. And that's what key they're playing in. If you ask him to play a ballad, he'd say "Oh, I'm traditional." They've got names for music: "Traditional or old fashioned." [laughs] Even if it's an outside ballad. I don't care. One of his ballads, he couldn't even hold the whole notes. And I know that from experience. And these guys get big writeups now about how great they are. 

FRED BOUCHARD: So as a teacher, you would teach the craft, but how do you teachhow can you instill in students a sense of a feel-good emotion? Can you give them that? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Well, no. What I deal with.the direction, I don't... I teach fundamentals. I lose a lot of students that way. If I have a student play and he doesn't have a good sound, and I tell him to practice long tones, he looks at me like I'm crazy. But long tones are boring. You play clarinet... 

FRED BOUCHARD: Sixteen whole notes, work on your tone? Man, that's boring. 

ANDY MCGHEE: That's boring. Especially if he comes to Berklee and he's playing long tones and the kid next to him that's been playing fifteen years and burning[imitates playing saxophone] Oh, he just can't stand that. I mean long tones, fundamentals, the mechanics of the saxophonethat's my main thing is the fundamentals. My other thing is: you must listen. I just tell them that. They must listen to music if they want to be in music. You'd be surprised how many kids who want to play music don't listen to music. You have to listen, then by listening, I let them make their choice of the direction they want to go. 

FRED BOUCHARD: So do you say, "Listen to: Johnny Griffin, Dexter Gordon" You give 'em a list of people? 

ANDY MCGHEE: I name all the good listen to... Sam Rivers, John Coltrane, Joe Lovano, if you want to go back and hear some ballad playing, I'll recommend Hawkins. Different 

FRED BOUCHARD: Willie Smith. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah. I had Tony Hart, He could play everything, good sound--and he'd never heard of Earl Boston. And Earl Boston is one of the artissimo, he's one of the greatest. I said to Tony Hart, "Have you ever heard Earl Boston?" he said, "No, I never heard of him." I said, "Go listen to Earl Boston." He went and listened to Earl Boston, and he flipped. He couldn't believe it. So then he got that. But he don't play like Earl Boston. But he 

FRED BOUCHARD: That's right. No, but he's got a nice sweet sound when he wants it. 

ANDY MCGHEE: That's what I try to do. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Antonio's become a damn good teacher himself. He was teaching in Newton after he was here. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Well, he's had--he took Jimmy Heath's job at Queens. He's the professor at Queens now. I give credit to myself--any time you hear any of my students, the first thing you're gonna say is, "Man, he's got a good sound." [Both laugh] But that has it'sNow it's a disadvantage, in a way. When Tony Hart and all those guys came to school, they came here to learn to play the instrument. Now, the kids now, they get us all in a category. If you want to play traditional, you go see Andy. If you want to play out, you go see this guy, if you want to play this way you go to this guy. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Oh, so they put you in a box. 

ANDY MCGHEE: They got you boxed. They want to play some old stuff, you go to old Andy. If you want to go outside, you do this. And all the guys that they talking about in this faculty here, all has all the fundamentals, good sound, know tunes, been playing a hundred years. Nobody in this faculty hasn't been playing--I been playin fifty years. All the cats have been playing thirty to forty years. 

FRED BOUCHARD: The kids figure they got you figured out before they even go. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Oh yeah, you go to Andy, you get the old stuff. [Both laugh ]It's amazing. But the only thing about it is.I guess they call that progress. Another thing I tell the students, too, which is I guess supposed to be progress is this. I've written a couple of books myself, that's another thing. I say to a student, I say, "Who's your favorite player?" They say, "Dexter Gordon. I say, "That's great." Or anybody. Next lesson he comes in, he has a Dexter Gordon book, boom, with all the solos. I said, "Did you listen to Dexter play?" "No." He hadn't even heard him play! But he's got all the solos there he's bought. When I was coming up, we had to pick out all that stuff that Bird did off the record. We had to sing it. We could sing it. The girls hung out with us could sing[sings] They'd listen, and we picked this stuff off the record. If we happened to write it down or get somebody who had to solo, we understood it. Now here I got the students who like Dexter, they want to play his music and have never even heard him play. It don't work that way. 

FRED BOUCHARD: No, the sound he gets is not what you see on the page. 

ANDY MCGHEE: No, you can't write it on the page. And that's what they do. As soon as theyThere's nothing wrong with doing research. I buy some of the books too to see what the guys can do, but I've been playing fifty years. When they learn how to play and listen to these people, they should transcribe themselves--even if not but one chorus of a player that they like. When I got a student and I say, "Who's your favorite player?" And he starts wondering, right away that gives me something that he doesn't really know what... Everybody's got to have a favorite player! "Oh, I like 'em all," they say. Well, I do too, but Don Barnes is my man, I couldn't play like Don. Because Don Barnes had too much technique, so I listened to "Prayers." And "Prayers" kind of fit what I was doing technically. But I didn't say I liked everybody. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Anybody you named in the last few minutes. you listen to the first two bars and you know who that is because of the sound. The sound is absolutely like a thumbprint, man. You can't copy it. 

ANDY MCGHEE: And the one guyAnother thing that a lot of the students will do, they would tell another student who played better than they, "I don't want to copy Coltrane." [Shrugs] This kid is copying Coltrane, you know. He can't play, this one can't play. "I want my own thing." Keep your own thing, it's just nothing. ColtraneThat kid who's copying Coltrane, he'll get out of that; what he will develop is a kind of concept, a sound and everything. And the music's changing, and he's changing. After a while he won't sound likeWhen I was coming up, every alto player in the country played like Bird, man, but I could tell Sonny Stiff, I could tell [unintelligible] and I could tell Charlie Mariano. I could tell all who is who. None of 'em sounded like Bird. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Nope. He was their model, but they didn't sound like him. 

ANDY MCGHEE: That's right. They didn't sound like him. Campbell's sound. I like Campbell's sound. 

FRED BOUCHARD: It's beautiful. It's like a Cadillac. 

ANDY MCGHEE: That's right. You got to have a mentor. You can go to a basketball court and see kids playing basketball. And you can tell who the kids like as a player by sight. That doesn't necessarily mean you're gonna play, you could grow six feet taller--I mean, two or three inches taller, and you'll be able to do something different than he can do. Same thing with the playing, too, because if you say at eighteen or nineteen, "I'm gonna do my thing," you don't have anything! 

FRED BOUCHARD: Right. You got to have something to build on. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Build on the fundamentals. Do some listening. Become a discriminating listener. Your thingYou're too young to have your thing. Playing is like a fingerprint. Nobody's gonna play the same. That's the thing that bothers me. Usually I have some good players and they say, "You sound like Coltrane. You sound like Charlie Parker. You sound like Joe Lovano." Here's a kid, nineteen years old, playing like that? Boy, that's amazed me. I'd say, "Keep on." Because after a while he's gonna get away, the music's gonna be different, the tunes are different. Wayne Shorter writes tunes now that--I've been playing for years, to get the right sound I have to go over it. I can't play the same sound that I play on one tune, you know. I tell the students, you take a tune that's a modal tune, you can't play the G dorian the same way on every tune. You got the sound of the tune to determine how you gonna play. And Wayne plays--he probably has an A7 something and the melody's going this way. So I got to get used to the sound, and I can't play it like I played "Sister Sadie." [both laugh] 

FRED BOUCHARD: Right. Junior Cook. 

ANDY MCGHEE: I can't play it the same way and that comes from listening. I'm seventy-seven now. I listen to all players; I go to Wally's and listen to my students. I go down there Friday nights, Saturday nights. 'Cause when Brown, when Walter was there, I'd go down a couple times a month, listen to Walter play. Yeah I go hear them. 

FRED BOUCHARD: You like what you hear. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah, I like when I go down to Wally's, that joint, stay there. If Joe Lovano is playing at this place over here, I go catch Joe. If Bill Pierce is playing, I go catch Bill Pierce. Greg Osby, or anyone else... I don't there saying, "Oh, man, he's squeaking," and all that. I listen to what they're trying...And I'll tell you something else I'll do too: if I'm with Bill Pierce next door, and I hear Bill play something that's really nice, I steal it! I try. I get it. 

FRED BOUCHARD: You know what? You're just taking back what you give him in the first place. [both laugh] In a way, in a sense, right? You're just taking back from yourself. 

ANDY MCGHEE: When Bill had the fundamentals. When he got with Art.[gestures] It's just different. He's in this town, playing good, got in that environment with Art, and all that. [gestures] Now when Bill was studying with me, he was really on Joe Henderson. Joe Henderson, really, ol' Joe. Not like that now... And Woody made a statement about that too, he saidwhen he had the band, and Sal and I were in the band, he knew who was playing without even looking around. Some of the players he had there, he couldn't tell which one was playing, because all their sound was alike. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Who said that? Woody? 


FRED BOUCHARD: You mean in the eighties or later on? 

ANDY MCGHEE: There was one certain year that he couldn't tell who's playing. He had to look around to find out who was playing. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Oh my gosh. I see. 

ANDY MCGHEE: But that environment... A young guy that finished school is like me, I was the same way; when I finished New England Conservatory I said, "I'm ready". I wasn't ready for nothing! I go to New York, get killed. And this is a guy who has a day job. The only time I learned something was when I got into Hamp's band. The alto player, Zach, he killed me every night. And then another. 


ANDY MCGHEE: Zach Zachary was the alto player. He played so much stuff, man. And then the next week, we look down, there's another tenor player, Herman Green, never heard of him. Man, he'd make you practice. Now I'm beginning to branch out because of these guys. 

FRED BOUCHARD: So, you can give your students fundamentals and some good people to listen to. But when they hit the streets and hit the bands, that's when things really open up. 

ANDY MCGHEE: New school... New school altogether. Even Willard Walter play--he went to New York, he found out it was a different, boy, different bag. The only thing is that made it good, he has the facility to deal with it. And of course, not only that, I think like Trane, he never really stopped learning. After you get to that level, you want to go to another level. Those are the guys that really turn out to be good players. Once you start looking in the mirror at yourself and say, "I can play," you're done. You're done. 

FRED BOUCHARD: There's always another thing to reach for. There's always another level you can bring yourself up to. It's endless. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Always. Because that horn doesn't have any soul at all. I've been playing for fifty years, I haven't played my horn in two or three days. As soon as I pick up my horn, it tells me, "You know what, you've been goofin'!" [both laugh] 

FRED BOUCHARD: A tough mistress. 

ANDY MCGHEE: That's the thing with me at my age now is to try to maintain the level that I--that's the problem, not going above my level, just maintain what I had. Because to do that, I have to do what I did before. I played every night plus jam sessions, used to play six one-nighters in a row. That's the thing that bothers me about it.The progress, and these mouthpieces, they got mouthpieces made so you can play loud. They figure the louder you play that's good. The louder it is the better it is. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Bigger bore. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Or whatever it is. I went to Rayburn about three, about six weeks ago. And I was playin something. And it was a Berklee student. You know the first thing he asked me? "What kind of mouthpiece have you got?" [Both laugh] He asked me what kind of mouthpiece. Emilio [Lyons] fell out, he fell on the floor. 

FRED BOUCHARD: I got the mouth, not the mouthpiece. 

ANDY MCGHEE: I got the fifty years blowing that damn thing. He asked me what mouthpiece, he figured--if I told him the mouthpiece, that he's gonna say, "Emilio, give me that mouthpiece," and he thinks he's gonna sound the same! 

FRED BOUCHARD: Yeah, this is the two-year wonders. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah that's the thing that bothers me. And the free bag, that bothers me. That bothers me, you know. But nothing I can do about it. Just like rap bothers me, too. But that's big. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Well you know you keep up with what you can keep up with, and you have to ignore the rest. You know? I mean you can't be on top of it all the time. There's just too much stuff happening out there. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Well, you know, that's true. Only thing that bothers me is the art itself. At one time the jazz peak was really up there. I remember four or five years ago, with just me, I had to cancel gigs! I was in France, I was going from France to Korea and I had to cancel gigs. Now, nothing. Nothing is happening at all. Because now, when I turn on--everytime I turn on the television--guys who are studying guitar should keep on, because every band I see now has got eight guitars. 

FRED BOUCHARD: That's the biggest major here by far. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Well it has been for years, but now I see so many groups, whatever, they're playing. I just happen to pass on television, it doesn't stay long. I don't see too many--well, big bands, the only time I see a big band now is when they come from Lincoln Center. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Oh, yeah. Wynton Marsalis' bands. He keeps inventing new programs of really fascinating music to come up with. You know, bringing new people and new little wrinkles. He's always reinventing things down there. Either historical or contemporary. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Well, he's got people who're interested in keeping the art going, and they got money. And the thing is like I said, we don't have any young band leaders coming up. You remember when Duke was up? There's another band--[unintelligible] had a band, then Diz had a band.Then other guys would take their place, you know? Jimmy [unintelligible] when they left Duke and Count Basie and stuff. I would like to see a young twenty-eight-year-old Berklee student with some little smoking eighteen-piece band not playing Count Basie, not playing Duke Ellington, just playing their stuff, playing their ideas that's coming up, that's functioning. 

FRED BOUCHARD: You would like to see that. 

ANDY MCGHEE: I'd like to see that. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Greg Hopkins does his thing and brings in new stuff. And then you get kids like Kendrick Oliver who got a band together, but they're mostly Basie stuff from forty, fifty years ago. 

ANDY MCGHEE: I know, but I give them credit because they're still hanging in there. There's some guys there that are still trying to maintain that. And if they get the break, the right kind of break, then they'll be able to go anywhere. 

FRED BOUCHARD: That's really tough. It's got to be like Monday nights, that's about you all you can... 

ANDY MCGHEE: I'm just hoping to just hang in there. [Laughs] I don't buy many records now. I don't know. 

FRED BOUCHARD: I keep seeing 'em trickle in from around the country. God knows there's a lot of junior high and high school bands working. You come down here for the festivals. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Oh, yeah, well that's a good sign. That's a credit to Berklee and a lot of schools--New England Conservatory, Berklee, basically... Most of those guys are bringing Berklee alumni and they're trying a whole lot, and teaching the kids jazz. That's really rewarding to see those kids come in and play. But half of the [unintelligible], one guy wants to be a doctor and another guy wanted to be an engineer and they're doing because of the education point of view, they're like that. But When I started at twelve, I was definite going to be a musician. That was my thing. I didn't have enough brain to be a doctor. I knew music was my thing, but these kids, they have it a little different. I see these kids, all the kids in the saxophone section got [unintelligible] instruments... Man, I had a rubber band and everything. [Fred laughs] It's a little different thing. A rubber band--my mother bought me a plaster reed so it would last me four years! [Both laugh] So it'd last four years. Just the move of the thing, I guess they call it progress, man. Just like the thing where the guy where you play the record and goes. [vocalizes] 

FRED BOUCHARD: Scratching? 

ANDY MCGHEE: Scratching. That's another thing, I won't touch that. Scratching. 

FRED BOUCHARD: Better not go there, better not go there. The new DownBeat has a blindfold test with DJ Logic, who's a scratch master. And they put together some scratch jazz things for him to talk about. The new issue. The new issue of DownBeat. I don't think they've ever had a scratch guy before. 

ANDY MCGHEE: That's, well, I won't go there because... How long does it take you to study how to scratch? Six months to learn how to scratch? 

FRED BOUCHARD: I don't know. They got a couple of classes in it here now with Steve Weber and those guys. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Well I know, that's why I asked. Maybe I should go, find out what scratching is about. 

FRED BOUCHARD: [Laughs] Maybe we could learn something, Andy. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Maybe I can learn something, that's one on me. But you know, I can't understand some of it. 

FRED BOUCHARD: We got a lot of material here. Let's go get some lunch. [Laughs] 

ANDY MCGHEE: Yeah, let's get some lunch and.I hope soI try to be truthful, and I tell you what I'm really afraid of, man--this is a great art, and one for the foreign countryI heard a guys say, "You know, when I go to Spain, I hear good Spanish music. When I go to Israel, I hear good Israelian music. When I go to Africa I hear...." You see but jazz is the only music you hear all over the world, everywhere, jazz. 

FRED BOUCHARD: But now you got Israeli guys playing Spanish jazz in Boston. A guy like Alon Yavnai, the cat who's from Israel, he learned to play some really really good samba and Latin music, and now he's working with Paquito d'Rivera, who's a Cuban down in New York. I wrote Alon's first liner notes when he was down here in Boston. He was phenomenally talented. I mean, the world is shrinking and things are mixing up a lot more. 

ANDY MCGHEE: But I was saying there, when the world was wide, was big, jazz was all over the world, with Louis Armstrong. I mean, I might not even heard Spanish music many years ago, but jazz has been heard all over the world for years. That's one music that didn't just stay in one place. Everybody was playing it. They were playing it. Even in China and everyplace. 

FRED BOUCHARD: But jazz has influenced a lot of the music in Africa. 

ANDY MCGHEE: Oh, sure. 

FRED BOUCHARD: We learned from the Afro-Cubans from New Orleans and on up. And now the Americans like you went to Algiers. Randy Westin went to Morocco, 

ANDY MCGHEE: Morocco. 

FRED BOUCHARD: He's influencing the people over there. They're picking up the jazz stuff, mutating it, and feeding it back to us. So it's like, it's really a melting pot now.