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This review is from: Eight Classic Albums [Audio CD] Jackie Mclean (Audio CD)
Eight truly classic albums digitally remastered. Sound is excellent as is the price. They take Jackie McLean through his hard-bop playing career with a hint of his later development into a free-form performer His approach was always honest and raw.
1)McLEAN'S SCENE: 1956 & 1957. The young saxophonist is still developing from the inevitable Parker comparisons. With Mal Waldron(p), Red Garland(p), Bill Hardman(t), Art Taylor(d) and Paul Garland(b). Cleveland's Hardman rattles chorus after chorus in 'Gone with The Wind'. McLean is sublime on 'Our Love Is Here To Stay', 'Mean To Me', 'Old Folks' and 'Chasin' The Bird' that may reflect later quotations from them both.
2)NEW SOIL: May,1959. Given ample rehearsal time by producer Alfred Lion, McLean emerged from self-confessed 'difficult times'. His self-penned opener 'Hip Strut' is blues. His exchanges of ideas with Charlie Byrd,(g),flow. 'Minor Apprehension' is taken at a rapid tempo. Hints of his future ideas come through (Ornette Coleman comes to mind). Chambers(b), Davis Jr (p) and Pete La Roca(d) with a stunning solo stand out.
3)SWING,SWANG,SWINGIN': Oct 1959. Surprisingly, Jackie sticks to standards all played mid-tempo. Bishop(p), Garrison(b), Art Taylor accompany. Plenty of swing. 'What's New' is almost a nod to Parker. 'Stablemates' stretches but '116th And Lennox' is more challenging.
4)CAPUCHIN SWING: April 1960. Mitchell(t), Bishop(p),Chambers(b),Art Taylor(d) are hardened boppers. This followed release (3). McLean's varied repertoire (three compositions and two from Bishop) lead to a driving set with extended solos from the saxophonist. Mitchell is a perfect counterfoil. 'Francisco', 'Conditional Blue' (featuring Chambers) and 'On The Lion' are highlights.
5)JACKIE'S BAG: Jan. 59 & Sept. 1960. McLean's debut for Blue Note is split into two sessions more than a year apart. The initial sessions are three numbers, 'Fidel', 'Blues Inn' and 'Quadrangle'. Donald Byrd(t), Sonny Clarke(p), Paul Chambers(b) and Philly Joe Jones(d) feature. Clarke is not featured on 'Quadrangle'. McLean is, as always, passionate in his playing. The accompaniment is top rank. The 1960 session features Taylor(d),Kenny Drew(p) and Tina Brooks(ts) who wrote two numbers (a little known performer). 'Street Singer', 'Medina' and 'Isle of Java' are standout with rivetting emotionally committed solos by the band members. 'Appointment in Ghana' is another highlight and a pointer to McLean's development into the 60's.
6)BLUESNIK: Jan. 1961. McLean throwing himself into bop and blues. His solos hint at a performer who is almost oblivious to his rhythm accompaniment. Of course he needs it, but so profound is his playing his band are almost an intrusion. 'The blues are here to stay' wrote Ira Gritter in the liner notes. Kenny Drew's solo on the title track is exceptional. Doug Watkins does the donkey-work on bass immaculately, holding the album together.
7)INTA SOMETHIN: 1961. Kenny Dorham is prominent throughout. A live date from San Francisco. Bop, blues, mainly standards. 'Melanie' swings as do Walter Bishop, Bobbie Timmons and McLean, of course. 'It Could happen to you' and the ever emotional 'Lover man' jump out.
8)A FICKLE SONANCE: Oct.1961. McLean is still embracing bop and blues. A group achievement. McLean takes the title track but Tommy Turrentine(t), Sonny Clark(p), Butch Warren(b) and Billy Higgins(d) are by no means there to make up the numbers. They are paramount in this album. 'Embraceable You' and 'Subdued' are vehicles for McLean. Listen out for Clark on 'Sundu', Warren on 'Lost' and Turrentine on 'Eniterrut'. Wonderful.
Jackie McLean seems to be relatively and unfairly underestimated in his musical contribution. Coming from a hard school of bop with legends alongside, he developed his own style and more importantly was his own man and never overshadowed. This collection is unequivocably recommended to any enthusiast of jazz.