232

Jackie McLean: 4, 5 & 6

John Barron By

Sign in to view read count
When you listen to Jackie McLean on 4, 5 & 6, his third releae as a leader, you hear a young, passionate, hungry artist in search of a musical identity. The influence of Charlie Parker on his sound is obvious. The seemingly indelible marks left by Bird are present throughout all of McLean's '50s sessions for Prestige.

4, 5, & 6 is a strong outing for the legendary alto saxophonist and his swinging rhythm section of pianist Mal Waldron, bassist Doug Watkins and drummer Art Taylor. Detroiter Donald Byrd joins in on trumpet for the recording's two original compositions, Waldron's "Abstraction and Kenny Drew's "Contour. Tenor great Hank Mobley makes the group a sextet on Parker's "Confirmation.

The relaxed tempo of "Sentimental Journey leads off the set and provides a soft cushion for the quartet to settle in. McLean plays a superb solo in characteristic bop fashion, combining logical lines and lyrical phrasing with a piercing, volatile, yet beautiful tone. The two other quartet pieces are also standards; "Why Was I Born? and "When I Fall in Love both have a straightforward approach with solos by McLean and Waldron.

Donald Byrd's melodic prowess is a welcome addition to "Contour and "Abstraction. The latter, a haunting ballad, showcases the trumpeter on an expressive muted solo. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Byrd sticks to the middle register and emphasizes lyricism over showmanship.

4, 5 & 6 is a fun, swinging document of an inspired blowing session with some of the hippest musicians of a bygone era. It's exciting to hear McLean, so rooted in bebop, moving forward in identifiable new directions.

Track Listing

Sentimental Journey; Why Was I Born?; Contour; Confirmation; When I Fall In Love; Abstraction.

Personnel

Jackie McLean: alto sax; Mal Waldron: piano; Doug Watkins: bass; Art Taylor: drums; Donald Byrd: trumpet (3,4,6); Hank Mobley: tenor sax (4).

Album information

Title: 4, 5 & 6 | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Concord Music Group

Tags

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Live In Willisau
Live In Willisau
By Troy Dostert
Read Albare Plays Jobim
Albare Plays Jobim
By Edward Blanco
Read Serenity Island
Serenity Island
By Mike Jurkovic
Read Ecology
Ecology
By Toj Samaz
Read Wilderness
Wilderness
By Friedrich Kunzmann
Read Beethoven's Breakdown
Beethoven's Breakdown
By Geno Thackara
Read All I Am
All I Am
By Nicholas F. Mondello