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Jack McVea

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Jack McVea (November 5, 1914 – December 27, 2000) was an American swing, blues, and rhythm and blues woodwind player; he played clarinet and tenor and baritone saxophone. His father was the noted banjoist Satchel McVea, and banjo was Jack McVea’s first instrument.

Born John Vivian McVea in Los Angeles, California, and playing jazz in Los Angeles for several years, he joined Lionel Hampton’s orchestra in 1940. From 1944 on he mostly worked as a leader. Perhaps his most impressive performance as a sideman in those years was at the first Jazz at the Philharmonic concert in 1944. From 1966 till his retirement in the 1980s he led a group which played traditional jazz at Disneyland, called “The Royal Street Bachelors” in New Orleans Square.

McVea was leader of the Black & White Records studio band and was responsible for coming up with the musical riff for the words “Open the Door, Richard”. Ralph Bass got him to record it in 1946 and it became immensely popular, entering the national charts the following year, and was recorded by many other artists.

He is also known for his playing on T-Bone Walker’s “Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just As Bad).” McVea also played on 1945’s “Slim’s Jam” by Slim Gaillard alongside Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.

McVea died in December 2000, at the age of 86

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