The last of the Jackie McLean Prestige sessions, this LP has material from two different sets, but fortunately, the music is on a higher level than one might expect of "leftovers." "Strange Blues" is from a marathon quartet set that McLean had with pianist Mal Waldron, bassist Arthur Phipps, and drummer Art Taylor, as is a rendition of "What's New" that is an alternate version to the one included on Makin' the Changes. In addition, "Disciples Love Affair" and "Millie's Pad" match McLean with the tuba of Ray Draper (who contributed both songs), trumpeter Webster Young, pianist John Meyers, bassist Bill Salter, and drummer Larry Ritchie, while the incomplete "Not So Strange Blues" is all McLean on an explosive blues with the rhythm section. A generally strong set chiefly recommended to Jackie McLean completists.
The genesis of the duet partnership of pianist Jacky Terrasson and trumpeter/flugelhornist Stephane Belmondo stretches back 30 years. Close friends from their days living and playing in Paris and then while band mates in vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater’s groups in the mid-‘90s, the pair enjoyed a simpatico musical relationship. But they lost contact over the years until six years ago when they reconnected and played a duo show in the south of France. That proved to be the seed of their sublime duo album on Impulse, Mother, that was recorded last fall and in April of this year at Recall Studios in the southern France village of Pompignan.
This is one of the great Jackie McLean albums. After nearly a decade away from recording, the veteran altoist teamed up with his son, René McLean (who triples on tenor, soprano, and flute), pianist Hotep Idris Galeta, bassist Nat Reeves, and drummer Carl Allen for a very passionate and high-powered live set. Whether it be originals by René (including "J. Mac's Dynasty") or Galeta, a very intense version of "A House Is Not a Home," or Jackie's "Bird Lives," this is dynamic and consistently exciting music. The go-for-broke solos (which transcend any easy categories) and Jackie's unique sharp tone make this an essential CD, one of the top recordings to be released in 1990.
Among the many saxophonists who have been influenced by the Hall of Fame composer, arranger, educator and alto master Jackie McLean, three stand out: alto sax prodigy Christopher Hollyday, Dr. Steve Lehman, and now composer, arranger, alto/tenor saxist, and Canadian jazz scene impresario Cory Weeds. All three of these musicians were able to develop their own styles. This recording harkens back not only to McLean’s days at Blue Note records, but to countless past and present saxophone-organ-guitar-drum combos that have a special place in the hearts of many jazz fans. This is an enjoyable blowing session of the first water that McLean himself might have delighted in as this potent quartet gives their own interpretation of some of his compositions. Joining Weeds in this tribute are master guitarist Peter Bernstein, first-rate organist Mike LeDonne, and drum master Joe Farnsworth. Three songs of this tribute are from the McLean “Consequence” session with Lee Morgan.