At 67, Jackie McLean sounds better than ever. Highly recommended, his latest album surrounds that distinctive alto saxophone tone with a seasoned trio, presenting classic songs – the kinds of songs that got us interested in jazz in the first place. "Nature Boy" swings lightly with a loose bebop flavor after McLean first offers the melody straight and with serene melodic shades. The dramatic changes in mood and tempo take the listener on a trip from dreamy ballad land to a place where bop is king and improvisation reigns. Bassist and pianist stretch out throughout the session with spontaneous interludes to complement McLean’s fluid bop-charged lines. The unpredictable manner in which his alto saxophone portrays each chorus differently brings pleasant surprises along the way. There’s none of that harsh, biting, jangling of the nerves that up-tempo bebop and hard bop can sometimes bring. Instead, McLean starts with a roster of pretty songs, surrounds himself with artists who match his mastery, and then portrays the music with a lively bounce that flows seamlessly from start to finish.
Track Listing: You Don
Personnel: Jackie McLean- alto saxophone; Cedar Walton- piano; David Williams- bass; Billy Higgins- drums.
I love jazz because next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.