Cecil McBee (born May 19, 1935) is an American post bop jazz bassist, described by the Guinness Who's Who of Jazz as "a full-toned bassist who creates rich, singing phrases in a wide range of contemporary jazz contexts." Allmusic called him "One of post-bop's most advanced and versatile bassists"
By 1971, Pharoah Sanders had taken the free thing as far as he could and still live with himself. He was investigating new ways to use rhythm – always his primary concern – inside his music and more tonally strident ways of involving the front line in extrapolating tonal and harmonic diversions from the melodic framework of his music. To that end, he entered into a more groove-laden arrangement with himself and employed some funkier players to articulate his muse. Along with Cecil McBee and Billy Hart, who were frequent Sanders sidemen, a young Stanley Clarke fills the second bass chair, and Norman Connors fills out the second drum seat.
The Leaders was a veritable supergroup of leftward-leaning, mid-'80s jazz stars. Its front line was comprised of three of the era's important personalities trumpeter Lester Bowie, from the decade's most critically acclaimed band, the Art Ensemble of Chicago; alto saxophonist Arthur Blythe, whose Columbia albums of the time almost (but not quite) brought free jazz a measure of popular acceptance; and tenor saxophonist Chico Freeman, who made a series of records that melded the best of mainstream jazz with the passion and originality of the avant-garde. The horns combined with pianist Kirk Lightsey, bassist Cecil McBee, and drummer Famoudou Don Moye to make a pair of generally fine, if unspectacular, records.
This set matches the McCoy Tyner Trio (which includes bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Al Foster) with four different guests. Altoist Arthur Blythe and vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson fare best but both trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and guitarist John Abercrombie also have their strong moments. In addition to four Tyner compositions, there is one song apiece from McBee, Abercrombie and Hutcherson in addition to four jazz standards. This collection is a fine all-around showcase for the brilliant pianist even if no new ground is broken. ~ AllMusic