Jackie McLean fans who jumped on board with his tough 60s sides Let Freedom Ring, One Step Beyond or Destination Out know him as a post-hard bop alto saxophonist with an open affection for Charlie Parker, some graduate seminars with Miles Davis, Charles Mingus and Art Blakey under his belt, and a constant willingness to explore new paths to revelation. Approaching 70, he continues to burn the midnight lamp with a commitment to making wild and lovely music, though clearly now favoring the lovely aspects. McLeans latest Blue Note release is a seductive set of eight standards their lyrics devoted to love, its comings and goings with his unmistakable drawn-out tone, his headstrong sense of swing (even at ballad tempo) and his blue bop wisdom all intact. From the memory-in-suspended animation, classic yearning of "You Dont Know What Love Is" to the late-50s vamp of the title track (where pianist Cedar Walton digs down into Barry Harris-minimal moodyness and bassist David Williams solos as if this were some long-lost Yusef Lateef session), McLean opens the proceedings in a haunted and haunting frame of mind: Is this the sound of passionate golden eternity or what? Then from ballad to medium swinger to toe-tapping torch song, McLean and friends cover the waterfront of desire, with the great Billy Higgins on drums as chauffeur extraordinaire. By the time the pure heart-on-sleeve chutzpah of "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" comes up and mugs you with its atmosphere, by the time "Star Eyes" grooves its way into your trembling heart, youre a goner. Leaving the bass-alto unison intro on "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square" to sweep up the shattered little pieces of any resistance, Jackies back.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at email@example.com.
Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.
Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.
Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.
Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.