Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Warning! Jazz Below!

Jackie McLean made his bones alongside Miles Davis in the early 50s, but it was his string of recordings for Blue Note in the 60s where he created a special place for himself in hardbop history.

I rarely post anything jazz or jazz-related. There's no reason for that. It's not that I presume you aren't listening, or could care less about the genre. I'm simply not very comfortable writing about it the way I can gush with backup over rock and roll. But I have loved this track since the day I first heard it.

It's from McLean's first release on Blue Note, 1959's "New Soil," and it's not quite as challenging as what he would subsequently release. But it swings like hell. I've always thought this is what Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass might sound like if they took themselves a bit more seriously.


Leon said...

Cool stuff... most of my "music friends" are much more esoteric than I -- one only listens to the most obscure reggae, one is a fiend for off-kilter orchestral stuff, one keeps sending me links for lost psychadelic albums by forgotten bands from Alaska.... you get the gist.

Yet another one is a big jazz fan. I've always used jazz more as a palate cleanser than my main dish. But anyway, he referred me to Jackie McLean a few years ago when I asked him, who is somebody I should explore who is adventurous yet accessible (i.e., not atonal). He recommended Jackie McLean's "Action!" album and I've loved it.

Thanks for this tune too, it does swing like mad!

Paul in Brentwood said...

(don't think I logged in properly the first time) - Sal, thanks for the shout-out on Jackie. He's just great in the early-60s Blue Note stuff. "Destination Out!" is my favorite and "4,5,6" is killer as well. His alto flights keep me listening to each composition's progressions, as I find that each six-minute cut just barely started. What is it about that late'50s/early-60s sound (both in performance and recording limitations) that make hard bop jazz from that era just about the best in the art form? Thank goodness for Rudy and his ability to capture so many musicians at their best. It all swings so well.

A guy called Tak said...

>I've always thought this is what Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass might sound like if they took themselves a bit more seriously.

That's exactly what I've always thought.

Les said...

Love it. (sorry I am late to the party, internet issues) This is the kind of thing that makes me stop in my tracks, stand in the middle of the room with my eyes closed to avoid distraction and turn into Mommy Dearest if any of the kiddos try to utter a sound. Good stuff.

Big Jim Slade said...

Hey, Jackie McLean, alright! I suppose you're going to post about Johnny Griffin next, right? I love his (JG's) album with Monk (Misterioso). While both of them are gone, they both did great work beyond the 50s and 60s. Check out the fiery Dynasty by Jackie McLean (with his son René) from '92, and Griffin's lovely duet album with pianist Martial Solal from 2000, In & Out.

Don't even get me started on Mingus and Coltrane :-)

Eric said...

jackie mac--also an accomplished actor:http://www.amazon.com/Connection-Jackie-McLean/dp/B0002N97A4