Search - Jackie Mclean :: Vertigo

Jackie Mclean
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #1

This CD combines two Jackie McLean quintet sessions from the early '60s that capture the alto saxophonist in a significant period of transition. First up is a 1963 session with trumpeter Donald Byrd and two significant pro...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Jackie Mclean
Title: Vertigo
Members Wishing: 4
Total Copies: 0
Label: Blue Note Records
Release Date: 2/15/2000
Album Type: Original recording remastered
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Styles: Modern Postbebop, Bebop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 724352266920, 0724352266951, 724352266951

This CD combines two Jackie McLean quintet sessions from the early '60s that capture the alto saxophonist in a significant period of transition. First up is a 1963 session with trumpeter Donald Byrd and two significant protégés. Byrd had been working for a while with pianist Herbie Hancock, but it was the first recording session for drummer Tony Williams, just 17 years old when he began working with McLean. The arrival of Hancock and Williams was momentous. They were already stretching the vocabulary of hard bop, and the horns respond accordingly. It's McLean's presence that's dominant, though. His hard-edged intensity always stood out, and there's an increasing bite in this period, leading up to his embrace of a much freer group format. The second session, from 1962, is more securely in the bop mold. It's another first-rate band of Blue Note regulars, with the veteran trumpeter Kenny Dorham, pianist Sonny Clark (like McLean, a master of blues-suffused bop), drummer Billy Higgins, and bassist Butch Warren. Over the years, these have been elusive recordings. Both appeared on LP (Vertigo and Hipnosis) years after they were recorded and in combination with other material. This is their first appearance on CD, and it's a limited edition, so McLean fans should act quickly. --Stuart Broomer

CD Reviews

Another gem from Jackie Mack!
(5 out of 5 stars)

"With so many previously unavailable Blue Note classics having been reissued on CD in the last few years, I was beginning to think there weren't any "finds" left. And then came Vertigo.... This '63 session with Hancock and Williams sets the tone for his later classics Destination Out and One Step Beyond. Vertigo has that unmistakeable Blue Note 60s sound -- not too avant-garde yet challenging, exploratory and thoroughly rewarding. The bonus '62 session finds McLean tackling more typical post-bop material, yet it could easily be a stand alone release (I found it better than Swing Swang Swingin and Tippin the Scales). Sometimes McLean can sound a bit out of tune, but he's fine here. Two of the tracks from the '62 set appear later, and under different titles, on the Mosaic box set. In all, well worth getting, and with so many McLean Blue Notes going out of print, get it while you can."
Still Available After All This Time
James Bonevich | Kalamazoo, MI | 04/17/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Two separate quintet sessions from the early 60's are represented here, both shelved at the time by Blue Note, both important documents that jazz musicologists are delighted to have on CD today. This review restricts itself to the main session from which the album title is derived, featuring the top-notch personnel as noted in the editorial review above, and it discusses each track in sequence:

1. "Marney", by trumpeter Donald Byrd, is a tight chase that sprints right out of the gates. McLean's tone throughout is extra tart - not for the squeamish. And the rhythm section of Hancock, Warren and Williams is absolutely incendiary, throwing off white-hot sparks at every turn.

2. "Dusty Foot", also by Byrd, is a funky blues in 12 (actually 6 + 4 + 2) that rolls itself out a bit like a chunky version of Horace Silver's tune "The Jody Grind" (from three years later; both tunes in Bb). It also bears a somewhat eerie resemblance to Wayne Shorter's "Adam's Apple" (also from three years later; different key) - not so much the head, but more the thing that Herbie's doing underneath to set up the groove.

3. "Vertigo" - The title track is a strange circus gambit, and not a chordless one as others have suggested, but certainly an extended form that reveals McLean's history with and indebtedness to Charles Mingus, while pointing the way forward to near-future McLean albums like Destination Out! and One Step Beyond.

4. "Cheers" is a modern show-type tune (you'll swear it's a standard) that McLean seems to have based upon "The Woody Woodpecker Song" as much as on anything else. Check it out. It's a fine blowing vehicle for the principals.

5. "Yams" is a 12-bar blues, plain and simple. Nothing special in this tune credited to Hancock, though it could be called remarkable for the way that McLean dials back his usual sharp tartness and plays it right in the pocket.

The "Vertigo" session tracks (which marked the recording debut of the late Tony Williams, then just 17, on astonishing drums) were recorded in February 1963, but were held back for vinyl release by Blue Note until 1981 (tip of the hat to a young Michael Cuscuna). Like many others, I scrambled to get this "Limited Edition" CD release when it arrived in 2000, and I've never regretted it. Seven years later, it's sad to have lost such a giant of American Music (McLean died March 31, 2006 in Hartford, CT at the age of 74), but it's nice to see that this fine document is still available to everyone.

(btw, the other half of this release is taken from a June 1962 5tet session that was previously available only as part of the double LP set "Hipnosis", and it features some guys named Kenny Dorham, Sonny Clark, and Billy Higgins - not too bad in and of itself!)"