MUSIC - Bill McGee - Trumpeter, songwriter, arranger, producer, educator, musical mentor and quintessential musician.


Originally from Richmond, Virginia, Bill comes from a family of musicians.  His grandfather was a former educator and became a top selling gospel music recording artist and pioneer.  Bill became an educator and he is noted as being a top trumpet man in the music industry for well over thirty years. 

Bill performed with Evelyn "Champagne" King.  He worked as a member of the New York based studio horn section "Chops " (Alicia Keys - Horns), with Saxophonists's Darryl Dixon and Dave Watson, Trombonist's Melvin El, Robin Eubanks and his close friend and trumpeter, Marvin Daniels and trumpeter, Sylvester Smithers. His group recorded all of the Sugar Hill Records rap classics (before samplers took over. He played lead trumpet on many of the original rap records by “Grand Master Flash, The Sugar Hill Gang, The West Street Mob and Sequence (Angie Stone) He also played lead trumpet on albums by The O’Jays “Out In The Real World,” Leon Huff “The Right Stuff,” Patti Labelle, The Stylistics, and McFadden and Whitehead. Bill performed as a musician with Lou Rawls and Ray, Goodman, and Brown (The Moments.)

Homily for The Pope - (September 2015)
composed and performed By Bill McGee (Trumpet)


Q&A: Bill McGee [March 2023]

"Trumpeter Bill McGee has touched seemingly every facet of the music industry, from playing in the band that became Brick to laying down trumpet on The Sugarhill Gang’s “Apache” to label owning, tour managing and teaching, most recently at Virginia State University. Did we mention he mentored a young D’Angelo? McGee decided to teach when polyphonic synthesizers became common in the 1980s. “Within two years, synthesizers had put all the live musicians out of business,” he says. But McGee has thrived thanks to his love of technology and mentoring younger players. “I don’t live in the past, I live in the future,” he says. “I get excited about what’s possible.” Slated for a March release, his next album, “The Tree of Life,” embodies the Richmond-based musician’s embrace of change. “I’ve got people from ages 75 to 18 playing on this album,” he says. “This is what music’s all about.”"   ~ Richmond Magazine

Richmond Jazz Musician Bill McGee [February 2017]

"Retired educator and grandfather of nine is a pioneer musician/producer who has worked with everyone from R&B superstar D’Angelo and SupaFriendz to Missy Elliot. He cracked the Billboard Top 20 in 2016 with his smooth jazz track “Cantaloupe and Watermelon,” was a first-round Grammy nominee and is currently prepping his fifth full-length album for release, tentatively entitled “Big Daddy,” a name given to him by his grandchildren. “Every day now has something to do with music … or figuring out if I have to go pick up my grandkids,” he says. Did we mention he beat the heck out of cancer? Yep, this guy is a powerhouse."   ~ Boomer Magazine


Bill McGee - The Tree of Life

"I have been following African-American trumpet player Bill McGee (my friend) for many years, and this year this veteran celebrates his 50+ years in the music business. Although he himself says that he only feels 18 when he is in the studio. Bill began his recording career with the HBCU band from Atlanta (Hellaphenalia), which signed with Ray Charles' Tangerine Records in 1970, later changing to (Brick) Bang Records. "   ~

Bill McGee - Still Bill

"Back in 2007, when reviewing the CD ‘Chase The Sunset’, I described trumpeter Bill McGee as a special kind of guy with a biography just waiting to be written. More of that in a moment but for now the hot news is that after a nine-year absence Bill is back with the appropriately titled ‘Still Bill’. Many of the eleven choice tracks are a reflection on his early life as a young trumpet player and the time he spent learning songs such as ‘Watermelon Man’ and ‘Cantaloupe Island’. Consequently it is no surprise that the latest single from the album is ‘Cantaloupe and Watermelon’, Bill’s tribute to Herbie Hancock and a well crafted ‘mash-up’ of these two classic tunes."   ~ SmoothJazzTherapy

Cantaloupe & Watermelon

The Documentary by Bill McGee

Bill McGee - Chase The Sunset

"The album is a choice blend of five cool originals and seven classic covers that without exception are played with a quality and finesse that sets them apart. This is immediately evident with the slick production and execution of The Stylistics 1971 smash ‘Stop Look And Listen’. McGee’s mellow and reflective playing gels delightfully with the sax of James Holden while the vocal chorus that comes courtesy of Wanda McGee, Thomasine Johnson and Joshua Hodari is quite sublime."   
~ SmoothJazzTherapy


After many years of recording behind the scenes for others, Bill decided to begin recording his own CD's.  On these CD's you'll find what he calls the 804 Jazz All Stars, and in Bill's words, "essentially the best musicians and singers that Virginia has to offer". Many of whom have their own outstanding professional discographies and track records.

James Saxsmo Gates (Sax)   Tom Reaves (Guitar)
Lance Dickerson (Piano)   Dr. Weldon Hill (Piano)
Larry D Jones (Organ)   Debo Dabney (Piano)
Brandon Lane (Bass)   Edward Shaw Jr. (Bass)
Anthony Ingraham (Guitar)   Haywood Tucker (Bass)
James Plunky Branch (Sax)   Jim Adkins (Guitar)
James Johnson (Sax)   James Holden (Sax)
Lynwood Jones (Sax)   Kevin Simpson (Sax)
Joe Taylor (Flute)   Charles Newton (Trombone)
Hannon Lane (Guitar and Trombone)   Yolanda Westinghouse (Vocals)
Carlton Blount (Vocals)   Rudy Faulkner (Vocals)
Shawn Chappelle (Vocals)   David Lacks (Vocals)
Joshua Hodari (Vocals)   Stevie Potts (Vocals)
Chyp Greene (Vocals)   Wanda McGee (Vocals)
Thomasine Johnson (Vocals)   Karen Woods-Banks (Vocals)
Bak N Da Day:   (Russell Benett, Larry Everette, Lawrence Jones,
Jeff Goode, Anthony Harris) Vocals

The above information referencing the 804 Jazz All Stars, was previously extracted  from Bill's website.

Link to Bill's discogrpahy featuring his albums and collaborations.


Bill McGee - Cantaloupe and Watermelon

Bill McGee - Outside in the Rain

Bill McGee "CHILL"

Bill McGee "Through Your Eyes" (Their Eyes Were Watching God)