Jackie McLean Biography

John Lenwood McLean, 17 May 1932, New York City, New York, USA, d. 31 March 2006, Hartford, Connecticut, USA (some sources cite 1931 as his year of birth). Coming as he did from a musical background (McLean’s father played guitar with the Tiny Bradshaw band), Jackie was encouraged by family friends who included Bud Powell. It was through Powell that alto saxophonist McLean came to the attention of Miles Davis, with whom he played in 1951, having previously gigged with Sonny Rollins. Throughout the 50s McLean performed and recorded with numerous leading jazzmen, among them Charles Mingus and Art Blakey. He also led his own groups, touring internationally, and from the early 70s became active in musical education. In the late 70s, he had a surprising entry in the UK pop charts with his ‘Dr. Jackyll And Mister Funk’, a disco favourite, which reached number 53. A fresh wave of albums in the early 90s gave McLean an Indian summer after a number of years of recording inactivity. This crop of albums easily matched the best of his work during his vintage Blue Note Records period in the 60s. Strongly influenced by Charlie Parker and Ornette Coleman, McLean’s forceful and highly personal playing style reflected his interest in several schools of modern jazz. McLean’s son, René Profit McLean (b. 16 December 1946) is a jazz saxophonist.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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