Bill McGee · Flight Time

In commemoration of the 50th year since its original release, trumpeter and flugel hornist Bill McGee lift's off with his new Flight Time single!

Bill McGee is no stranger to radio, his “Cantaloupe and Watermelon” a tribute to Herbie Hancock was a Top 20 Billboard Hit and reached the Top ten on several of the most important contemporary jazz charts. However, he is most recognized for being the lead trumpet on the iconic hip hop hits “Apache” by The Sugarhill Gang and “Freedom” by Grandmaster Flash and the furious five.

Bill was an original member of the group from Morris Brown College that became Brick, he was founder of TRUSSEL (Elektra/Asylum) who had the late disco era hit “Love Injection”. He was music director for Evelyn “Champagne” King, and tour director for Klyamxx.

Bill has recorded with Patti Labelle, The Stylistics, The Five Blind Boys, Leon Huff, McFadden and Whitehead, The O’Jays and the entire Sugar Hill Records roster. Bill teaches at Virginia State University and mentored D’angelo.As a devoted fan of Dr. Donald Byrd, Bill McGee was committed to honoring one of the unsung fathers of contemporary Jazz, trumpeter Donald Byrd.

To ensure he captured the essence of the original Flight Time version, Bill enlisted the help of one of Donald Byrd’s most esteemed and accomplished mentees, pianist Kevin Toney, the founder of the Blackbyrds. In addition, Bill reached out to a friend, the very well-known and accomplished trumpet player Tom Browne.

When the question of who would play flute was raised, Najee was the obvious choice to make the track pop. Bassist Christian de Mesones who had the #1 Hit “Hispanica” and Freddie Fox who had the #1 Hit “Too Tough” are Bill McGee’s personal friends and collaborators, they solidified the rhythm section with funky drummer Ty Onley who was featured snare drummer in the Beyonce “Run the World” video.

Donald Byrd’s Flight Time was released in 1973 on Bluenote records. It was written and produced by Larry Mizell. The album was a game changer and Flight Time was the song that started the game 50 years ago.

Bill McGee’s version has received the support of Larry Mizell and Donald Byrd, III. Both have expressed their sincere appreciation for the commemoration and their approval of this recording that is in honor of the late Dr. Donald Byrd who passed away in 2013.

Najee - Flute
Kevin Toney - Piano
Tom Browne - Trumpet
Christian de Mesones - Bass
Freddie Fox - Guitar

Listen Bill McGee "Flight Time"  fon SmoothJazz Weekend Radio Playlist