Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Let Freedom Ring
Genres: Jazz, Pop
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The Thin Line between Freedom and Chaos
Todd M. Stellhorn | baltimore, MD | 09/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was a very important album for Mr. McLean, as it was his first whole-hearted attempt to come to terms with the "freedom" that was emerging in jazz at the time. However eventhough Jackie admired some of the free jazz players and their music, he was disinclined to totally abandon the bebop (or by this time hardbop) that his mentor and hero Charlie Parker created. Combining aspects of both traditional bop (itself revolutionary for it's time) and more outside free playing would be his challenge during parts of the sixties (see "Destination Out!", "One Step Beyond", "Action", "New and Old Gospel", and particularly Grachan Moncur's "Evolution" to assess how it went). For McLean personally the new freedom of the music invigorated him, and it shows on these albums, as the one thing they all share is the sustained, jagged passion of his playing. Some might call it abrasive, but for me the word to use is most definitely passionate to describe the sound of Jackie's alto, as he emerged from under Parker's tall shadow hovering over the instrument. On this album, and on the track "Omega" in particular, we can see the wisdom of walking the tightrope of structure and chaos, something McLean would do often over the aforementioned series of albums to come. This sonic balancing act, of juggling some sort of structure with the raw emotion that outside playing allows, is exactly the sort of thing John Coltrane did on some of his very best records. However, unlike Coltrane, McLean always comes back down to earth, he regains his tenuous grip of the edge, never falling into the darkness of chaos. Along with Jackie we have the always competent Walter Davis (whose album "Davis Cup" has recently been reissued), who on this album seems to represent Bop's past, and who is an interesting foil for the leader. We also have the amazing Billy Higgins, who after working with Ornette Coleman (among countess others) definitely had a solid understanding of what Jackie was chasing. Really no other drummer was more suited (with the possible exception of Elvin Jones) for giving this album the diversity, not only in tempo, but of feeling and emotion, that "Let Freedom Ring" called for. The end result was a wonderful melding of the "in" and "out", and not unlike Andrew Hill's work, a vision for one possible course jazz might take. "Let Freedom Ring" might , or might not, be the best McLean ever committed to record, but it is a milestone, and for people who appreciate the raw emotion and desperate desire Jackie had to communicate, it will always be a place to come back to and admire."
Jackie Mac's greatest album
Dennis W. Wong | 09/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This landmark album was my introduction to the glorious altoist Jackie McLean who to this day, next to Bird & Sonny Stitt, is one of my favorite alto players. The feelings I had on listening to this album was the same I had when I heard Coltrane's "Giant Steps"--one of overwhelming passion and enthusiasm (I practically wore out the grooves on this one). The cry of his alto is so human but there is also the warmth which no one player can capture since it was McLean's own. Also like "Giant Steps", it was McLean's leap from be-bop to the modal playing of 'Trane and Ornette Coleman. From then on, his albums signified that change from "One Step Beyond", "Destination Out" to "Action". It was a sad day when he died, but his sound lives on in these brilliant Blue Note sides and in particular this ground-breaking album!!"
What would you listen to if you had no fear?
Domingo Manuel Diaz Caneja | San Sebastián, Spain | 04/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What would you play if you had no fear? What would you listen to if you didn't have to explain it to the others, to your family, to your boss? It would sound like jazz. Let freedom ring. Let play it and listen to "Omega" in particular. Give you an opportunity."