McLean, Jackie (aka John Lenwood Jr.; Abdul Kareem; Omar Ahmed)

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McLean, Jackie (aka John Lenwood Jr.; Abdul Kareem; Omar Ahmed)

McLean, Jackie (aka John Lenwood Jr.; Abdul Kareem; Omar Ahmed), hard bop jazz alto saxophonist, composer, educator; b. N.Y, May 17, 1932. McLean was given early encouragement by Charlie Parker; he studied briefly with Foots Thomas and Cecil Scott before he began working with Sonny Rollins in the late 1940s. McLean made his recording debut with Miles Davis in the early 1950s, then played with Paul Bley, George Wallington, and Charles Mingus later in the decade. Next came a three-year stint with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers; he then began heading a quintet in 1958. Miles Davis and John Coltrane each recorded his composition “Tittle Melonae.” “Dig,” credited to Davis, is said to be McLean’s composition also. McLean was steadily building his reputation when drug problems began to affect him. During the 1960s, his live work gradually diminished until, by the end of that decade, he had ceased performing live altogether. He was barred from many N.Y. clubs even after the problem eased. The 1970s saw him return to occasional performing. In July 1979, he achieved his only entry into the U.K. pop charts with his one fusion album—the cut “Dr. Jackyll and Mr. Funk” was a single featuring the assistance of a vocal back-up group which reached #53. McLean also became active in jazz education. He has taught since 1971 at the Hartt Coll. of Music of the Univ. of Hartford. Founded and was the first chairperson of the African-American Music Department there. Also very active in The Artists Collective, a group that he founded in 1972 which brings the arts to the youth of Hartford. In 1983, he was the recipient of the Conn. Arts Award from Conn.’s Commission on the Arts. Among other awards and honors, McLean was voted #1 in Down Beat Magazine’s 1993 Critics Poll and the 1994 Jazz Time Magazine Readers’ Poll and Japan’s Swing Journal. His wife Dolly manages his career and his son Rene plays saxophone and flute and records with his father frequently. He has been often criticized for playing consistently sharp, but his heartfelt passion and unpretentious directness win over most listeners.

Discography

Tune Up (1955); Steeplechase (1956); McLean’s Scene (1956); Lights Out (1956); Jackie’s Pal (1956); 4, 5 and 6 (1956); Strange Blues (1957); Makin’ the Changes (1957); Long Drink of the Blues (1957); Jackie McLean and Co. (1957); Jackie McLean Plays Fat Jazz (1957); Alto Madness (1957); Swing Swang Swingin (1959); New Soil (1959); Jackie’s Bag (1959); Street Singer (1960); Capuchin Swing (1960); Fickle Sonance (1961); Bluesnik (1961); Tippin’ the Scales (1962); Let Freedom Ring (1962); Jackie McLean Quintet (1962); Vertigo (1963); One Step Beyond (1963); Jackie McLean Sextet (1963); Destination Out (1963); It’s Time (1964); Action (1964); Right Now (1965); Consequences (1965); Tune Up (1966); Jacknife (1966); High Frequency (1966); Dr. Jackie (1966); New and Old Gospel (1967); Hipnosis (1967); Demon’s Dance (1967); Bout Soul (1967); Live at Montmartre (1972); Source (1973); Ode to Super (1973); Meeting (1973); Ghetto Lullaby (1973); N.Y. Calling (1974); Antiquity {197A); Altissimo 1974 (1974); New Wine, Old Bottles (1978); Contour (1978); Monuments (1979); Dynasty (1988); Rites of Passage (1991); Jackie Mac Attack Live (1991); Rhythm of the Earth (1992); Hat Trick (1996).

—Lewis Porter/Music Master Jazz and Blues Catalogue

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McLean, Jackie (aka John Lenwood Jr.; Abdul Kareem; Omar Ahmed)

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