Jackie McLean was an American jazz saxophonist and educator born on May 17, 1931, in New York City. He was a prominent figure in the jazz scene of the 1950s and 1960s, known for his innovative playing style and contributions to the bebop and hard bop genres.
McLean began playing saxophone as a teenager and quickly gained recognition for his talent. He joined the legendary pianist Bud Powell’s band in the early 1950s and went on to play with many other notable musicians, including Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, and Art Blakey.
In addition to his work as a sideman, McLean released several successful albums as a bandleader, including “New Soil” (1959) and “One Step Beyond” (1963), which featured his innovative approach to improvisation and composition.
McLean was also a dedicated educator and taught at the Hartt School of Music and the University of Hartford for over 20 years. He was a strong advocate for jazz education and worked to promote the importance of music in the lives of young people.
Throughout his career, McLean’s playing style was characterized by his rich tone, inventive improvisations, and use of angular, dissonant melodies. His music had a profound impact on the world of jazz and continues to be celebrated today.
Jackie McLean passed away on March 31, 2006, leaving behind a legacy as one of the most influential and innovative saxophonists in the history of jazz. He was posthumously awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Fellowship in 2001, and his contributions to the world of music continue to be recognized and celebrated.
Page last updated 4/2/2023.