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Jackie McLean

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John Lenwood, Jr.; Abdul Kareem; Omar Ahmed (1932-) Alto saxophonist, father of Rene McLean

Jackie McLean's father, John McLean, was a guitarist in Tiny Bradshaw's orchestra. Jackie played alto saxophone from the age of 15, studying briefly with Foots Thomas and Cecil Scott, then worked with Sonny Rollins (1948-9), Miles Davis (at intervals, 1951-2), with whom he made his first recordings, Paul Bley and George Wallington (1955), and Charles Mingus (1956, 1958-9); he also belonged to Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers (1956-8; and worked occasionally as a leader. From 1958 he led a quintet, with which he made several recordings and toured Japan in 1965. In 1968 he joined the faculty of the Hartt School of Music, and in the following summers he made tours (sometimes with his son Rene) and taught in Europe. In the early 1980s he appeared in Ken Levis's documentary film Jackie McLean on Mars, in which he is seen teaching, playing, and discoursing on life and music. McLean has a raw, urgent style that is grounded in bop but also greatly affected by free jazz.

The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For personal, non-commercial use only. Copying or other reproduction is prohibited.
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