Jackie McLean Destination… Out! (1963) Blue Note

Record pictures updated June 8, 2017, updated June 10, 2017. This record deserves better than what I was able to do five years ago.


Track Selection 1Kahlil the Prophet (Mclean)

correct track

…” Using a hard bop lyric and a shape-shifting sense of harmonic interplay between the three front-line players, McLean moves deeply into a blues groove without giving into mere 4/4 time structures. The architecture of his solo is wonderfully obtuse, playing an alternating series of eighths, 12ths, and even 16ths against Hutcherson’s wide-open comping and arpeggio runs.”

from All Music Review

ljc-Santa-smokeLJC says: Influenced by but not of the avant guard,  Moncur, Mclean and Hutcherson apply brushstrokes to the musical outer canvas; trombone and vibraphone create an airy spaciousness under the canvas, whilst Ridley and Haynes are the pegs in the ground that stop the canvas from blowing away. Dib dib dib.  Great!


Selection 2 (It’s Christmas!): Love and Hate (Moncur)

The standout track for me is Moncur’s Love and Hate, more abstract and spacious, and less bop than Kahlil, but I couldn’t decide which between the two, as I love Kahlil the Prophet for McLean’s sparkling alto improvisation. So I decided to post them both. It’s Christmas don’t you know? Ho ho ho!


Grachan Moncur III (tb) Jackie McLean (as) Bobby Hutcherson (vib) Larry Ridley (b) Roy Haynes (d) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, September 20, 1963


digitalred1963It is 1963 and things are beginning to free up: moody, angular, discordant , adventurous, unpredictable, off-balance. We are entering the Twilight Zone of “Post-Bop” where McLean’s sharp acidic tone is well at home.

Within a short space of time Blue Note will offer Hancock’s Maiden Voyage,  Moncur’s Evolution, Dolphy’s Out to Lunch,  Hill’s Point of Departure, Shorter’s Night Dreamer and  Lee Morgan will go In Search of New Land, (before heading back home for safer ground). More important, no one smiles on the record cover any more. The musicians are no longer asking to entertain you, the customer. The shoe is on the other foot, you are going to be allowed to listen to them.

It is common to describe things as being “ahead of their time” and I was tempted to slap that label in this album, but it struck a chord recently when I read  an alternative view:  The musician is rarely ahead of his time. The problem is the audience, many of whom are considerably behind their time.

Of all of McLean’s Blue Note dates, so many of which are classic jazz recordings, Destination… Out! stands as one that reveals the true soulfulness and complexity of McLean’s writing, arranging, and his unique alto voice.

Vinyl: BN 4165 NY,  Ear, VAN GELDER, no DG, mono, 1st press

All present and correct. Got to love those ears.

Reid Miles Larry Miller cover design shows how you use typography for best effect – off centre angled picture of Jackie (dark glasses in the dark,  and goatee) stealing part of the album title – “Out!” perfectly capturing the off-centre angular style of the music.

Collectors Corner

Source: Ebay, around three years ago.

The idea of a Collectors Diary was fine while there was a lot of interesting stuff coming in, but at times when there isn’t, I will have to fall back on the idea of just “making stuff up”.

It has been very slow over recent weeks, not very much collectible coming in, a lot of “placed second” bids as collectors decide to treat themselves to a big Christmas present. So I  have had a look around the shelves to find good music to post, and I realised I had been neglecting Jackie McLean as I bought a lot of his records long before LJC. So it’s catch up time, hopefully you approve.

Postscript and off-topic:

Blue Note Liberty

All the helpful stuff posted in during the last couple of weeks, more comments than ever before, thanks to all –  I have added a permanent page to LJC which draws on all we know about the Liberty Years of Blue Note. May just be of interest, contains not previously seen material

Blue Note: The Liberty Years


27 thoughts on “Jackie McLean Destination… Out! (1963) Blue Note

  1. Heads up LJC… both track selections on this page seem to play the same audio file. Crossed wire somewhere?


    • Cut me some slack please, posted 2012, blogger in short pants, Ion $100 DJ USB portable, iffy ripping software, chaos, quite possibly wrong. I’ll clean up the post and refresh it to todays standard, and get the rips right over the next few days.

      Nice to know folk are digging into the 800 posts here, not just the latest one. Every record here is over fifty years old, what’s the thing with the newest post? Nothing here is “new”.


      • With 800 posts to manage, it’s not surprising that one or two errors slip through the cracks! I consider any errors encouraging and warming signs of the humanity behind this blog, spurred on by a love of gorgeous jazz. Then there’s the part of me that is itching to hear Mr. McLean in glorious Technicolor mono! To my knowledge this title hasn’t been reissued in mono on vinyl, a crying shame.

        I’ll take this opportunity to thank you for the great posts across the years. I’m relatively new to America’s greatest art form, and the free education provided here is invaluable. Flipping through the racks at the local record store(s), I come across a title I half know. What does LJC make of it, I wonder?


  2. Pingback: Jackie McLean - Destination Out! - RVJ [radio.video.jazz]

  3. LJC
    “Reid Miles cover design shows how you use typography for best effect – off centre angled picture of Jackie (dark glasses in the dark, and goatee) stealing part of the album title – “Out!” perfectly capturing the off-centre angular style of the music.”
    Cover Design by LARRY MILLER – it’s clearly stated on the back cover and also mentioned in Bob Blumenthal’s notes to the RVG CD release. But your mistake is understandable having in mind the fact that he sticks with the house style established by Miles. Actually it’s impossible to guess it just looking at the cover. But now you know it. 🙂


    • Well there you go, “a gaffe” I would say, good job i’m not running for President.
      It looked so “Reid Miles” I didn’t think to check. Larry Miller whoever he is has done a great job. I stand by that.


      • Exactly. When I made the discovery it came as a shock to me. It’s seriously weird cause I can’t think of any other Blue Notes designed by him and not designed by Miles at all. In this particular period, of course. Great job, no doubt.


  4. About a Year ago, I took a $17 gamble on a sealed copy. Looking at the back cover, it could have been multiple pressings. It ended up being a Solid Blue label with a White B. It came in those white inner sleeves with the little bluenotes symbols and inner poly protective liner. Now, I’ve heard those inner poly’s are destructive to the vinyl and I can verify that my pressing has snap, crackle and popdespite being completely sealed for 30+years. It’s a absolutely stunning record. I’ve been trying to get a better copy but to no avail. I’ll settle for a king pressing but even the Connoisseur Series pressings fly out the door.


    • A sealed United Artists reissue circa 1978 with polythene-lined “all the vinyl you can eat” sleeve, that is sheer cruelty. Did it crumble to dust when exposed to sunlight (Transylvania pressing, eh? )
      Hang on in there, an original will come your way, one day.


  5. Another incredible selection from LJC and yet another one of my personal favorites.

    Destination Out, like most early-to-mid ’60s Blue Note titles is an opaque, cryptic reference to the Civil Rights Movement and its trials and tribulations. One can wonder about the possible meanings of the title in this context, but I would assume that the title is either a reference to the elusive victory in the ongoing battle, or a definitive battle cry. In any case, the title is a manifesto: a statement of intent and purpose; a jazz rebel yell in more ways than one. The strange thing is that the uncompromising title is in a stark contrast to the music, which is 500 shades of blue, dark indigo and deep, deep purple.

    Destination Out is rarely on the list shown of Jackie McLean’s major accomplishments (this honor typically goes to titles such as Bluesnik, Capuchin Swing or Jackie’s Bag), which is a crying shame because it really ought to be. I feel it really needs to be on the Dean’s list of great Blue Note sessions, and most certainly top-10 Blue Note sessions from the 1960s..

    Similar in mood in execution (and lineup) to his previous title (One Step Beyond) – it can be argued that the two albums were Siamese twins separated at birth – Destination Out finds McLean floating on the sonic foam of modal, elusive, fluid, abstract and not yet fully formed moods, more often mysterious and mystical than firm and specific .Much of the music feels and sounds like a religious chant or mantra set to music. It is a quintessential “mood” Spiritual Jazz album — an album you can listen to and enjoy on any number of intellectual or guttural levels.

    Much has been made of McLean’s propensity to turn standard hard bop forms into the Blues harmonic structure. I don’t see much Blues here, certainly not in the traditional sense of the word; what I do see is a sustained soulfulness, an ongoing effort to stress the mood, the shade and nuance of human emotion.

    My suspicion is that the album was massively influential among the early generations of the psychedelic Rock pioneers. I would not be surprised to learn that Mike Bloomfield, Jimi Hendrix, Fred Neil, Harvey Mandel, Tim Buckley or Skip Spence spent countless hours listening to Destination Out and One Step Beyond.


    • “Destination Out is rarely on the list shown of Jackie McLean’s major accomplishments (this honor typically goes to titles such as Bluesnik, Capuchin Swing or Jackie’s Bag)”
      This can be true only in regard to the mainstream audience. There’s a consensus among the connoisseurs that “Destination… Out!” is his masterwork.


      • P.S. With “One Step Beyond” very close behind. Actually it’s quite hard to choose between the two. The first one has Tony at his best (17YO!!!) and the second one has Jackie at his best with his solos reaching a little bit further. “Action” takes third place.


        • In agreement with both statements. The problem with the first proposition (cognoscenti Vs. mainstream audience) is that the connoisseur audience has either died off or on its last legs or had moved to Japan and I can only assure you that the young generation of music lovers is essentially in the dark when it comes to Jackie McLean (actually, pretty much the entire Bop/Hard Bop era). We start our critical reappraisal of the Jazz masterpieces pretty much from the scratch. The hip-hop generation may actually find Eddie Gale or Ronnie Foster more masterpiece-ish than Jackie McLean. Such is life, alas.

          The selection of One Step Beyond over Destination Out – for me at least – was a kinda Sophie’s Choice. By rights, the two albums should tie for the same spot. I simply found Destination Out a bit more consistent and adventurous.


    • Your copy has the correct inner sleeve then, Rudolf. With Fred Cohen’s book in hand, I can see that my inner sleeve was used from 4050 through 4078. This must mean that the previous owner of my copy may have misplaced the inner sleeve of an older catalogue number and unwittingly put the Jackie McLean vinyl back in it while changing records on his turntable.


  6. Aha! Another gem that I also have, so once again we can compare copies. I didn’t spot any differences between your copy or mine, besides the fact that the cover of my Destination Out looks much more beat up than yours.

    Anyway, for everyone who’d like to play the ‘comparing game’, my snapshots can be found HERE. Hint: watch in ‘slide show’ mode 😛


    • Nearly identical, to the point where the label on side 2 has the same stress tearing at the non-deep groove . The distance of the Ear from the catalogue number is the same, (we saw Pieces of Silver where they are different with stamper changes) though both are in different “clock positions” relative to the label. My guess is that these two are off the same stamper/pressing run, however you would think that the clock position relative to the label might be the same. The stamper doesn’t move, so the alignment of the label must be completely random in the pressing process. (I am feeling quite calm, as the medication has kicked in) These must be things that come to light only when you have two similar copies, which isn’t often.


      • Random indeed. When you watch record manufacturing videos on Youtube you also see that the labels are simply loaded onto the machine by hand, without the slightest intent of having them positioned in a certain -fixed- way. Still it’s fun to see that, compared to your previous post of Six Pieces of Silver, this time both our copies seem to come off the same pressing run.

        Weird to know that our copies may have shared the same factory box before they were distributed all over the U.S. in those days 😉


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