In 1959 he played with Dinah Washington, and in 1962 he moved to Detriot, where he wokred with Paul Winter's folk-rock ensemble from 1963-1964. His jazz career began in earnest in the mid-1960s, after he moved to New York, when he began playing and recording with a number of significant musicians including Miles Davis, Andrew Hill, Sam Rivers, Jackie McLean (1964), Wayne Shorter (1965-66),Charles Lloyd (1966), Yusef Lateef (1967-69),Keith Jarrett, and Alice Coltrane(1969-1972). He established his own group in 1975, and has made a number of recordings under his own name, but is best known for his work as a sideman; he continues to be in high demand, and has gone on to work with Chico Freeman, Freddie Hubbard, Grachan Moncur III, Bobby Hutcherson, Charles Tolliver, Pharoah Sanders, Lonnie Liston Smith, Sonny Rollins, Michael White, Joanne Brackeen, Horace Tapscott, Anthony Braxton, Abdullah Ibrahim, Buddy Tate and Harry 'Sweets' Edison. In addition, he teaches at the prestigious New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts. As can be seen from the diverse range of artists with whom he has worked, he is able to adapt seamlessly into a wide range of different contexts, and is equally adept as a solo voice or in a supporting role. McBee is often ranked with bassists of the calibre of Jimmy Blanton, Charles Mingus, and Oscar Pettiford, and has played on some of the most highly regarded jazz recordings of the 1960s, 70s, 80s, and 90s.
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