Don McLean’s final album for United Artists was a musical tour de force, and the best self-contained account of the full breadth of McLean’s talent. Recorded live in England, in Manchester, Bristol, London, and Oxford, the 26 songs encompassed not only the artist’s best-known work, but also many of his personal favorites, among them works by other composers (including Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War”).
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.
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.
AVID Jazz here presents four classic Jackie McLean albums including original LP liner notes on a finely re-mastered and low priced double CD. All four albums have been digitally re-mastered for probably the finest ever sound quality! Fat Jazz / Jackie's Bag / New Soil / Swing Swang. I love being surprised by a newly discovered voice. It's like suddenly stumbling across new country: so much to explore, a Place To Be as Hiromi once so felicitously titled one of her projects. Jackie McLean affords the listener many pleasures.First, his balance of feeling and sensibility. Jackie is very much the Romantic, probing, adventurous, dynamic. Second, his gift for improvisation is very painterly. The pictures he creates in the listeners mind are fresh and repay repeated focused listening. Thirdly, his sense of drive and swing is flawless-the man can pivot from figure to the next with a lithe athletic grace. Fourth, Jackies improvisations are like the best modern poetry, full of the sound of surprise.