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Jackie McLean

Jackie McLean has long had his own sound, played slightly sharp and with great intensity; he is recognizable within two notes. McLean was one of the few bop-oriented players of the early '50s who explored free jazz in the '60s, widening his emotional range and drawing from the new music qualities that fit his musical personality.

The son of guitarist John McLean (who played guitar with Tiny Bradshaw), Jackie started on alto when he was 15. As a teenager he was friends with such neighbors as Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk, and Sonny Rollins. He made his recording debut with Miles Davis in 1951 and the rest of the decade could be considered his apprenticeship. McLean worked with George Wallington, Charles Mingus, and Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers (1956-1958). He also participated on a string of jam session-flavored records for Prestige and New Jazz which, due to the abysmal pay and his developing style, he later disowned. Actually they are not bad but pale in comparison to McLean's classic series of 21 Blue Note albums (1959-1967). On sessions such as One Step Beyond and Destination Out, McLean really stretches and challenges himself; this music is quite original and intense yet logical. McLean also appeared as a sideman on some sessions for Blue Note (most notably with Tina Brooks, acted in the stage play The Connection (1959-1961), and led his own groups on a regular basis. By 1968, however, he was moving into the jazz education field and other than some SteepleChase records from 1972-1974 (including two meetings with his early idol Dexter Gordon) and an outing for RCA (1978-1979), McLean was less active as a player during the '70s. However in the '80s Jackie McLean returned to a more active playing schedule (sometimes with his son René McLean on tenor), recording for Triloka, Antilles, and most recently (with a renewed relationship) with Blue Note -- without losing the intensity and passion of his earlier days. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Destination Out

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Track List: Let Freedom Ring

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Track List: One Step Beyond (Rudy Van Gelder Edition)

Comments

check out the tilte of this cut!-?-ahead of its time
!that's jackie 4-u!-jackie' s bag-that is!-good Lp
McClean played sharp because that set off his edginess even further. This is art man, dig it.
Without question one of the best ever. Jackie McLean is almost my very favorite jazz artist, behind perhaps Coltrane and Miles, Bill Evans and McCoy Tyner, but that's some pretty strong company.
am2dav
My theme song!
This is star eyes.I like
Good player, but why always slightly sharp? It's as though his ear was tuned a quarter tone off. The sharpness does annoy me at times, not always. I think this is what makes him recognizable : Oh, that must be McLean-- he's always got his mouthpiece pushed on too far!
oskinner75
I love it !!Just a great sound and mood of space & time.
brucew86
Great tune, fantastic playing. Love that crisp, fall-leaf sound.
Jackie had been and is still one of my favorite musicians. He had an aura, a charisma, if you will, about himself. I used to love to see the way he held his instrument, it was like he and it were one. During his later years he taught a lot of young musicians in a school situation he developed in Conn. So glad to have Pandora to hear a lot I missed of Jackie.
@Organ Grinder, absolutely, well said. I think they need to start paying attention.
quicksilver3 2 1
I have to agree he was one of the finest alto sax player around...his distinct sound was there at all times. I remember in one of his first albums with Miles and Sonny Rollins 'Dig'... real inspiring... .
It's a shame the editors here do not list the great sidemen who make these great performances shine.
Great Sound!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
One of the all time greats
tchsapr
Another giant who was the real deal. Once again the energy and committment to the creative aspects of the Universe. My only reservation is why? why all these diverse and brilliant geniuses, all seemingly arriving here on the planet in such a narrow time frame. There's been nothing like these guys since and given the times, I doubt there ever will be again. Just marvelous creativity.
ONE OF THE BEST ALTO PLAYERS.
I study with his son Rene at Hartt in Hartford, CT. Great influence and a truly royal musical lineage!
it's always special when great musicians get together. Jackie and lee what more can you ask for. outstanding
billy3bam
....im just getting hip2him!
so many out there sound the same...with absolute distinction you know Jackie McClean, Phil Woods, Dexter Gordon and Michael Brecker from note one! A giant, I saw McClean in live performance and his total devotion and focus to the music and performance remain a highlight of my many musical adventures along with the time I saw Phil Woods, Sonny Rollins, McCoy Tyner, Michael Brecker...al l idols of mine that I waited a lifetime to see in person...wha t giants!!! And Jackie was one of them...This is m
Why don't pandora have Jackie's album Called 'One Step Beyond'? To me, this is the best work he ever did. The Album was recorded in 1954? He did a run using the chromatic scale that was phenomenal. It was on the track called Frankenstien . Pandora, get with the program!
Jackie was a good friend of my brother, Sam. I grew to appreciate his music while studying at the University of Hartford and interacting with Jackie at the Artist Collective. We enjoyed playing ping pong and fitted it into our schedules on a daily basis. Jackie could relate to most situations. He provided guidance in helping me overcome my drug addiction. He was truly a man of many talents, but above all, was the greatest alto sax player I ever heard.
The only other alto sax player that comes to mind who I can tell within a few notes is Eric Dolphy. Destination Out! is one of my all time faves from him.
few altoist have such a distinct sound as jackie and he must remain important in the history of the saxophone,as well as jazz.
LOVE HIM....... always have.

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