Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Like meeting an old friend for the first time.
greg taylor | Portland, Oregon United States | 10/14/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Before I commence to praise this music, since I am the first to review this, I will provide some technical details. The recording date was September 24th, 1965. The musicians are Mr. McLean on the alto sax, Larry Willis on the piano, Larry Ridley on the bass and the great Jack DeJohnette on the drums. Now here is the icing on the cake. Lee Morgan and Charles Tolliver take turns playing the trumpet on this date and on one song, Soft Blue (written by Morgan) they both play.
The songs are On The Nile (written by Tolliver), Climax (penned by DeJohnette), the aforementioned Soft Blue, Jackknife (again by Tolliver) and Blue Fable by McLean.
If you are familiar with McLean's mid-sixties Blue Notes, you know that the McLean-Tolliver combination was one of the most potent of the time period. Tolliver seemed to bring out the modernist in McLean. Jackie also encouraged Tolliver's greatness as a composer by consistently recording several of Tolliver's song on the albums of this period. Charles Tolliver went on to a great but sadly underrecognized careet. If you like what you hear on this album, please check out his Live in Tokyo album. Trumpet quartets do not get any better than that.
Jackie's playing is brillantly passionate and, as always, his sound is unique. He is one of those players who is instantly recognizable. He is also one of those players whom, for me, rarely disappoints-the man just seems to have an endless stream of great music in him. Listen to his solo on Jackknife and see if you don't agree.
Lee Morgan is his usual self. Sometimes Lee was so soulful that it is easy to overlook how advanced musically and technically skilled his playing was. His composition on this CD is typically punchy. His stuff seems to be a lot of fun for everybody to play.
Larry Willis is the ringer of the album for me. I don't recall ever having heard him before but he sounds wonderful on this disc. A little like Hancock when Herbie was feeling soulful. I wonder what happened to him?
Larry Ridley and DeJohnette should need no introduction to you if you are reading a review of a Jackie McLean CD. Particularly DeJohnette. I will tell you one story. I was watching Freddie Hubbard's group at a Montreal club back in the mid-Seventies. DeJohnette sat in during the middle set and changed everything. Somehow he kicked everybody into high inspiration mode. Everybody's playing, expecially Hubbard's, went up many notches. It was a lesson in the drums for me. Jack isn't loud but he somehow pushes the whole band into a new sense of the possibilities. As on this album.
This whole album is like that. It is a reminder for me of just how great Blue Note was at that time. This is powerful music made by giants who could do no other. A heady strong strange brew. Do yourself a favor and snap this bad boy up."
earl rlabaci | 09/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are a million reasons why any album should be intense but I think "Jacknife" owes this one to Jack Dejohnette who's powerhouse drumming brings the flame up a couple notches. Larry Ridley who is usually somewhat hard to hear is surprisingly well fitted and audible with Dejohnette and Larry Willis on piano who combines the fast lines of Wynton Kelly and the strong Chordal Voicings of Bill Evans to make an extremely effective pianist. On Horns are Jackie of course on alto, the fiery trumpeting of Charles Tolliver, and the ever emotional and honest Lee Morgan sharing the trumpet chair with Tolliver. The comositions are all originals including two very strong tunes by tolliver "On the Nile" and "Jacknife", and one each by Morgan, Mclean, and Dejohnette. It is an immense recording and the honesty portrayed in Mclean and Morgan's playing is spirit lifting. The band Swings hard and their chops are in fine condition. Some reviewers will recognize standout tracks on different albums but with this one I have to say every single one is. Mclean's one contribution, "Blue Fable" is a very interesting song. First off the listener might take it for a blues, although the composition is trying to evoke a blues feeling, it is not in regular blues form and is sometimes switching keys. The title track is an absolute killer, Mclean burns right through the microphone and Tolliver does just the same. "Climax" bears the same intensity and Willis also whips out a great solo.
"Jacknife" is "cutting" edge."
Jackie hits the Jackpot
Scott Williams | Oakland, CA United States | 08/03/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
This is one of Jackie McLean's best recordings. The overall sound is a mix of post-bop, avant-garde, and soul jazz. What makes this album stand out among the many great Jackie McLean blue note albums is the song writing on this CD. Each song is unique and cleverly crafted. There are a lot of really cool little parts in each song that are put together perfectly. The melodies and songs are just as exciting as the solos. Two of the songs are composed by trumpetter Charles Tolliver (On the Nile, & Jacknife) one by Jack Dejohnette (Climax), one by Lee Morgan (Soft Blue) and one by McLean (Blue Fable).
On the Nile - This epic song will take you back to ancient Egypt. There is a Phrygian sounding chromatic melody line and blazing solos abound. The sound is reminiscent of McCoy Tyner and Alice Coltrane's work from the late 60's and early 70's. Classic tune, and classic performance.
Climax - This song has a very rhytmic piano line that makes me think of an old telegraph getting receiving a message. This is not surprising considering it is written by drummer Jack Dejohnette. In between the main melody section there is another section highlighted by a rapid pace walking bass line. Each of the soloists takes a turn soloing. Dejohnette is just going not stop with blazing drums throughout this one.
Blue Fable - This song is just full of little cool parts that lead into each other just beautifully. It's the perfect backdrop for a slew of great solos.
The mid 60's were Jackie's best period in my opinion and this is one example why. Highly recommended.