McKibbon, Al(fred Benjamin) (Chicago, 1 Jan 1919)


Double bass player


He began his career working with local bands in Detroit in the late 1930s (his brother Alphonso played guitar with McKinney's Cotton Pickers briefly in 1935). During the mid-1940s he established himself in New York as a musician with a full tone and metronomic beat, and recorded with Lucky Millinder (1944), Tab Smith (1944-5), and J. C. Heard and Coleman Hawkins (both 1946). His reputation was further enhanced when he replaced Ray Brown in Dizzy Gillespie's orchestra in 1947; he played with Gillespie intermittently until 1950 and during that time also performed and recorded with Miles Davis, taking part in the important "Birth of the Cool" recording sessions. In the 1950s McKibbon performed with Thelonious Monk at Minton's Playhouse, recorded with Earl Hines and Count Basie (both 1950) and Johnny Hodges and Monk (both 1951), and readily adapted to the Latin style as a member of George Shearing's quintet (1951-8) and for two years with Cal Tjader's group; he also recorded with Herbie Nichols (1955) and at the Newport Jazz Festival with Coleman Hawkins (1957). After working as a freelance musician on the West Coast in the 1960s, he played on Monk's last album (1971) and toured and recorded with the Giants of Jazz (1971-2). He recorded with Benny Carter in 1976, and in the 1980s continued to perform in Los Angeles.


Stan Woolley


Source: The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, Macmillan Reference Ltd 1988