Sunday, July 18, 2010

Jackie McLean - Destination... Out! (1964)

Saxophonist Jackie McLean did three albums with vibes player Bobby Hutcherson and trombonist Grachan Moncur III all together in the same line-up, 1963's One Step Beyond, Moncur's 1964 record Evolution as well as this gem from '64 credited to McLean. Only the bass and drums were interchangeable; these three played so well off each other that they effectively changed the hard bop landscape into something more freeing- it was a known fact that McLean was enamored with the sounds Ornette Coleman crafted a few years before and the eventual full-on change in John Coltrane's music right around this time would only cement his idea that bop had to change in order to survive.

McLean could be considered one of the major supporting players in the scene; albeit he lived in the shadows behind some of the giants- his teenage friendships with both Kenny Drew and Sonny Rollins; his adoration of Charlie Parker and subsequent meetings with Bird; his lessons with pianist Bud Powell, it seems as if young Jackie was always right on the verge of making it and... He would get his break
in the early 1950s, playing with Miles Davis for a few years, then moving on to play with Charles Mingus, Art Blakey, Sonny Clark and Hank Mobley before settling into his role as band leader. Drugs and arrests would also plague McLean through these years as well.

The session that produced this record is from September 20th, 1963, from none other than the Rudy Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs, NJ with Larry Ridley on the bass and Roy Haynes on the skins; it's one of the last vestiges of a true hard bop classic before energy music would fully take jazz by storm.

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