Jackie McLean

Alto Saxophone

Alto Saxophonist Jackie McLean began his professional career before he was out of his teens. Born into a musical Harlem family he quickly established himself on the Jazz scene through his acquaintance with neighborhood friends Sonny Rollins, Kenny Drew and Ritchie and Bud Powell. As an awe-struck teenager he hung out with Charlie Parker who became his idol and a surrogate father, and recorded with Miles Davis in 1951 aged only 19. During the last years of Charlie Parker's troubled life he and McLean were often in each other's company, with Jackie loaning the older man his alto during the last months of his life. After Parker's death he worked with the bands of George Wallington, Charles Mingus (1956), and Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers (1957). Although using Parker's musical vocabulary, McLean was attempting to find his own route, but found it difficult to shake off the constant pressure of being hyped as the new Bird. For a while McLean led a double life as an actor and musician appearing nightly in Jack Geber's play The Connection. He also led his own quintet touring internationally and, from 1970 onwards, became involved in musical education. He has taught music ever since, including a period as Professor of Music at Hartford University, Connecticut. But throughout the 70s and 80s he continued touring in particular in Europe and Japan. McLean’s horn always produces a plaintive searing tone and his emotion-packed playing makes his a highly individual style and it reflects an interest in several schools of Jazz.. 
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Recommended recordings
The Connection Blue Note
 
4, 5 and 6 OJC 056-2
Jackie McLean and Co. OJC 074-2
McLean's Scene OJC 098-2
Makin' the Changes  OJC 197-2
A Long Drink of the Blues OJC 253-2
Strange Blues OJC 354-2
Lights Out! OJC 426-2
Jackie's Pal (with Bill Hardman) OJC 1714-2
Alto Madness (with John Jenkins) OJC 1733-2
Bluesnik Blue Note
Destination Out Blue Note
A Fickle Sonance Blue Note
One Step Beyond Blue Note
Let Freedom Ring Blue Note
Nature Boy Blue Note
New Soil Blue Note
Swing, Swang, Swingin' Blue Note
Vertigo Blue Note
Best of Blue Note Blue Note