Monday, April 03, 2006

Jackie McLean- Monk's Dance

The dance is over.

Jackie McLean was the headliner the first time I made it to jazz mecca The Village Vanguard. I recall my shock at discovering that the famed institution was just a dingy basement, no better than the clubs back home. And frankly, McLean didn't strike me as remarkably more gifted than several Kansas City alto saxophonists. I realize that this is a poor way to eulogize McLean, who died Friday in Hartford at 74, but I never made a deep connection to the man's music. He knew Charlie Parker, played with Bud Powell, Charles Mingus, Art Blakey, and Miles Davis. He also was a pioneer jazz educator. He's heard here in a typical blowing session with Gary Bartz from 1973 for the SteepleChase label.

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