Al McKibbon b. Jan 1st, 1919 - d. July 29th, 2005
I was born Alfred McKibbon on January 1st, 1919 at 12:00am in Chicago, Illinois. My Family moved to Detroit, Michigan two years later.
My first musical influence was my father, who played tuba and guitar, and my mother, who sang. I was also strongly influenced by records and player piano rolls. Vaudeville was still alive and I became a dancer, self taught. At one point my older brother, who was a guitarist and played with the local Mid-West Territorial Orchestras, told me to pay attention to the string bass. Replacing the tuba, the string bass was coming into it's own as a jazz rhythm instrument. Consequently, upon entering high school I took a music course with bass as my major. There is a very reputable high school in Detroit that I attended, called Cass Tech. This school spawned many known jazz players such as Gerald Wilson, J.C. Heard, Wardell Grey and many others.
Locally, I first played in an old style club called B & C, which featured old time singers and dancers. Later I worked with Kelly Martin's band at the
Congo Club, and with Ted Bruckners's band as a player and singer. Ted was the famed alto player with Jimmy Lunceford's band.
During the WWII, Lucky Millinders Band came to Detroit's Paradise Theater. George Duvivier was eventually drafted and at the recommendation of Billy Bowen, a Detroit saxophonist who was in the band, I finished the engagement at the Paradise Theater. Subsequently, I rejoined the band in Washington, D.C. at the Howard Theater. From there, we went to New York City.
After about a year with Lucky, I joined Tab Smith's group. This enabled me to stay in New York. It was there I was introduced to 52nd Street where I worked with Coleman Hawkins in 1944. This led to my working with J.A.T.P., J.C. Heard's Cafe Society group, Dizzy Gillespie in late '47, Birdland House Group, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis and Gil Evans "Birth of the Cool", George Shearing for six years, and Cal Tjader
for one year.
Wishing to do studio work and live in California, I made the big move in 1958. Here I studied with Herman Rheinshagen, formerly with the New York Philharmonic.
I play a Jacob Steiner Bass made in 1650.
Al MCKibbon Discography, T.V., and Films
Click on the cover below to hear my CD
My first recording as a leader
Sammy Davis Jr.
Nat King Cole
Giants of Jazz
plus many more...
T.V. & FILM
Staff Orchestra NBC
What's That Song
Les Brown Orchestra
Bob Hope Presents
Dean Martin Show
Clear Day (w/ Striesand)
McKennas Gold (w/ Gregory Peck)
All Photographs from the private collection and personal
recollections copyright © Alfred McKibbon All Rights Reserved
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