Harold McNair was a British saxophonist and flautist known for his soulful playing and innovative approach to music. Born in Jamaica in 1931, McNair moved to London in the early 1950s, where he quickly established himself as one of the most talented and sought-after musicians on the scene.
McNair’s early career saw him playing in a variety of styles, including jazz, blues, and rock and roll. He worked with a number of notable artists, including Alexis Korner, Jimmy Witherspoon, and Donovan.
In the 1960s, McNair became a key figure in the emerging British jazz scene. He played with some of the most important musicians of the era, including Ronnie Scott, Tubby Hayes, and Harry South. He also began to develop his own unique sound, incorporating elements of soul, funk, and reggae into his playing.
McNair’s most notable recordings from this period include his album “Flute & Nut,” which was released in 1969 and featured his signature blend of jazz, funk, and Jamaican rhythms. He also recorded with artists like Ginger Baker, Donovan, and Quincy Jones.
Throughout his career, McNair was known for his soulful playing and his virtuosic technique on both the saxophone and the flute. He was a talented improviser and was always looking for new ways to push the boundaries of his music.
Tragically, McNair’s life and career were cut short when he died of lung cancer in 1971 at the age of 40. Despite his relatively short career, his influence on the British jazz scene was significant, and his recordings continue to inspire and influence musicians today.
Page last updated 4/3/2023.