sal

Jackie McLean

63 posts in this topic

I was pondering this question last night as, once again, I was getting my mind blown by another Jackie Mac album I'd never before heard, "Action". In my humble opinion, he must be the most consistant recording artist in the history of jazz. And what makes it even more amazing is that his personell was always rotating. But seriously...from his early Prestige stuff to the few newer recordings I've heard from him, they've all been of consistantly high quality.

Of all his output, his stuff on Blue Note really stands out. "Action" is incredible. But as diverse as all of his music was during these years, it manages to still be consistantly innovative, exciting, and hard swinging. "New Soil", "Capuchin Swing", "One Step Beyond", "Right Now!"......ALL OF IT!! Jackie Mac is the shit. I don't know what else to say.

Edited by sal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

His run at BN was pretty damn remarkable. No bad ones to my ears, not even close, and way more than his share of classics (CAPUCHIN SWING, DESTINATION...OUT!, ONE STEP BEYOND, LET FREEDOM RING, IT'S TIME, NEW AND OLD GOSPEL, and DEMON'S DANCE are all personal votes for dates that belong in that category). The range of sounds and approaches in those recordings I've just listed also says volumes about Jackie's restless creativity during that magical time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you want to keep believing that Jackie never made a bad album, pass right over "Monuments" in your used record store.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you heard his "RCA" album?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you want to keep believing that Jackie never made a bad album, pass right over "Monuments" in your used record store.

Yep.

It's not just bad, it's sad.

And this from someone not even slightly opposeed to such things.

And truthfully, a few of the early "comeback" records from the early 70's though not in any way "bad", find him a little tentative, imo. The ones w/Dexter in particular were not what I had hoped for from either party.

But that's just a few out of many. Pretty darn good ratio.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have one of those 12" disco singles of a cut from the "RCA" "Monuments - wonder how much play THAT got in the clubs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jackie's one of my all time favorites- and those classic Blue Notes are pretty much all fantastic (I haven't heard 'Bout Soul, however), but I haven't liked a disc he has made in the last 10 or 15 years except for Nature Boy, which I think is wonderful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMHO Jackie hit a downward curve while still with BN. Action promised more than Right Now delivered and there were a couple of albums that went unreleased recorded just after that. Consequence is a pretty nice album, but in no way does it compare to the fire on the edge of the earlier stuff. Then some time later there's New & Old Gospel and later on Demon's Dance, pretty erratic all that, I would say. And though Gospel reaches for the heights once promised by stuff like Freedom Ring or Action, it doesn't reach it quite (though it's a hell of a mofo of an album). And I have never understood all the critical acclaim for Demon's Dance. Of course it's a great album, but I would have expected something else, something with some more daring from McLean at that time. Never invested in all that came after, my bad for sure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe I should have narrowed my praise a little bit considering my being somewhat unfamiliar with his newer recordings. But I think the consistancy he has displayed is more than most. The constant high quality of his Blue Notes makes his body of work the strongest on the label IMO.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like to hear a remaster of Demon's Dance. The copy I have leaves me wondering what the music actually sounded like. Especially the title cut, which seems to be centered around that killer bass line. The CD I have is a little vague and muddied I guess. I'm not sure of audiofile terminology.

Fairly early Dejohnette too!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

monuments.jpg

Greatest record ever made!

With the exception of this one of course:

Dream_Come_True.jpg

But in all seriousness, Jackie is one of my all time favorites. His tone is da bomb! (as the kids like to say) ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

.:.impossible Posted: Jul 8 2004, 08:29 PM 

I would like to hear a remaster of Demon's Dance. The copy I have leaves me wondering what the music actually sounded like. Especially the title cut, which seems to be centered around that killer bass line. The CD I have is a little vague and muddied I guess. I'm not sure of audiofile terminology.

The JRVG is a noticeable improvement over the old 80's US CD version I had (and probably you have), but not hugely so...I think this recording suffers from the dead-sound and overly reverbed syndrome that I find many of the late 60's BNs suffer from, which leads to a muddy presentation that with years of hindsight just seems so wrong for this otherwise beautiful, acoustic music. I have long suspected this was due to a combination of things, perhaps tape aging (seems I remember Lon or someone confirmed that the types of tapes RVG used changed and that they haven't aged as well) as well as period tastes (influenced by rock and roll).

Anyway, it's also possible that the Japanese didn't have access to the original session tapes and made the JRVG from second or third generation copies. So maybe we can hold out hope that a future US RVG (should we ever see one), done from original tapes, would clear away the sonic muck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe I should have narrowed my praise a little bit considering my being somewhat unfamiliar with his newer recordings. But I think the consistancy he has displayed is more than most. The constant high quality of his Blue Notes makes his body of work the strongest on the label IMO.

Naaah, Jackie did have a few clinkers, but, man, what an incredible discography, both as a leader and a sideman. He's been on more great albums, so many of them now considered classic albums, than just about any sax player. His batting average is about .950; not bad :tup

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The JRVG is a noticeable improvement over the old 80's US CD version I had (and probably you have), but not hugely so...I think this recording suffers from the dead-sound and overly reverbed syndrome that I find many of the late 60's BNs suffer from, which leads to a muddy presentation that with years of hindsight just seems so wrong for this otherwise beautiful, acoustic music. I have long suspected this was due to a combination of things, perhaps tape aging (seems I remember Lon or someone confirmed that the types of tapes RVG used changed and that they haven't aged as well) as well as period tastes (influenced by rock and roll).

Anyway, it's also possible that the Japanese didn't have access to the original session tapes and made the JRVG from second or third generation copies. So maybe we can hold out hope that a future US RVG (should we ever see one), done from original tapes, would clear away the sonic muck!

FWIW, Tony, the LPs had that same sound.

When Lion retired, the whole "Blue Note Sound" ended, recording-wise. Rudy started getting REALLY heavy into reverb for some reason, and you can hear it not just on the post-Lion BNs, but on the Prestige dates of the same time as well. Ironically, he used it less on the production-heavy CTI dates! But from what I understand, Creed Taylor supervised all aspects of those recordings just as Lion had earlier for BN.

Actually, Rudy is on record as saying that the CTI albums are what he considers his best work. Don't know that I'd agree, but there for a while, CTIs were the defacto demo records in many a stereo shop, at least in these parts.

Whatever brought it on, the dependency on reverb increased throughout the 70s, reaching an apex on some of those Muse dates that just sound freakin' WIERD they're so reverbed. You can blame tape aging all you want, and that might be a bit of a factor, sure, but believe me - there's enough reverb on some of those late-60s/1970s Van Gelder-recorded LPs to scare God!

Edited by JSngry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But I think the consistancy he has displayed is more than most. The constant high quality of his Blue Notes makes his body of work the strongest on the label IMO.

I think Wayne Shorter and Andrew Hill have more impressive discographies-as-leader on BN than Jackie. But yeah, he had an excellent run.

Guy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Guy Berger Posted on Jul 8 2004, 10:41 PM

  QUOTE (sal @ Jul 8 2004, 03:24 PM)

But I think the consistancy he has displayed is more than most. The constant high quality of his Blue Notes makes his body of work the strongest on the label IMO. 

I think Wayne Shorter and Andrew Hill have more impressive discographies-as-leader on BN than Jackie. But yeah, he had an excellent run.

Well personally I would agree about Shorter, but not Hill, and I'm a huge Hill fan. Hill's output for BN was fascinating and reached some true pinnacles but I find it to be far more inconsistent, with less full realization of his vision on certain of the (mostly later period) recordings, than either McLean's or Shorter's BN output. You know, brilliant ideas with merely good execution some times.

One other piece of food for thought - McLean made a lot more recordings as a leader for BN than Shorter, so to me that's impressive too, that he was able to keep up the quality control over such a long time and over so many dates. The flip of that is Shorter was cranking out true genius writing and playing for Miles concurrently during his BN run - a really staggering feat - so it's not like he was exactly slacking! ^_^

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's even more amazing about Wayne is that his writing and playing for his own BN dates are quite different from what he was doing with Miles at the same time.

Those were truly amazing times!

Bertrand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Guy Berger Posted on Jul 8 2004, 10:41 PM

  QUOTE (sal @ Jul 8 2004, 03:24 PM)

But I think the consistancy he has displayed is more than most. The constant high quality of his Blue Notes makes his body of work the strongest on the label IMO. 

I think Wayne Shorter and Andrew Hill have more impressive discographies-as-leader on BN than Jackie. But yeah, he had an excellent run.

Well personally I would agree about Shorter, but not Hill, and I'm a huge Hill fan. Hill's output for BN was fascinating and reached some true pinnacles but I find it to be far more inconsistent, with less full realization of his vision on certain of the (mostly later period) recordings, than either McLean's or Shorter's BN output. You know, brilliant ideas with merely good execution some times.

One other piece of food for thought - McLean made a lot more recordings as a leader for BN than Shorter, so to me that's impressive too, that he was able to keep up the quality control over such a long time and over so many dates. The flip of that is Shorter was cranking out true genius writing and playing for Miles concurrently during his BN run - a really staggering feat - so it's not like he was exactly slacking! ^_^

I agree with the good Doctor on this one. I think Mclean's consistently high output is truly remarkable. I cannot think of anyone's whose continued growth is better documented than McLean. To me, it is mind blowing to listen to McLean's BN output in sequence and listen to how he progresses. Shorter shares the same qualities but as the Dr. has pointed out, you have to factor in his work with Miles to get a real sense of his direction and even then you wonder how much influence Miles was having on his work. I love Shorter, don't get me wrong. I think his work is equally fascinating to ponder. His growth is equally as fascinating as McLean's even if it is a little more difficult to sequence.

Excellent post Doc! :g:g

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As far as I am concerned, Jackie McLean can do no wrong. His lesser recordings provide more thrills than the good ones from a number of recognized musicians. And I am fully aware of some of the lesser ones but it's allright with me. After all there are a number of lesser recordings from other heroes such as Armstrong, Ellington, Prez, Miles and even Bird. Nobody's perfect!

As for McLean, I even get kicks out of 'Monument'.

That one sure is not McLean's type of music but his playing on the opening title number has our man playing with the intensity he shows on some of his better recordings. And 'They All Seem To Disappear' is indeed a full of melancholy number but there is a strange beauty there! Sad but in the true sense of the word.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought Jackie was born in 1932.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
51 minutes ago, AllenLowe said:

I thought Jackie was born in 1932.

So did I.  Just looked, and different sites have it as 1931 or 1932.  1931 makes a little more sense to me, though, based on the years of his earliest recordings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, felser said:

So did I.  Just looked, and different sites have it as 1931 or 1932.  1931 makes a little more sense to me, though, based on the years of his earliest recordings.

It's 1931. I once asked him specifically about the conflicting dates. He said at some point when he was young he told an interviewer for some liner notes that he was born in 1932 to make himself a year younger -- he said he had no idea why he did it, maybe just for a goof -- and from there the mistake kept getting repeated by other through the years.

Edited by Mark Stryker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Holy shit -- remarkable document.  Forty-five minute television profile of Jackie McLean from 2004, interview by Gil Noble, themed around a tour of Harlem where Jackie grew up. Includes rare earlier footage and photos that I've never seen. I wish the older film clips of Jackie playing were longer, and Noble's questions are not always ideal; but Jackie is comfortable and tells some great stories about his youth, and you can feel his presence. Wow.

 

 

Edited by Mark Stryker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.