Side 1: Donald Byrd (trumpet) Jackie McLean (alto sax) Sonny Clark (piano) Paul Chambers (bass) Philly Joe Jones (drums) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, January 18, 1959
Side 1 selection: Blues Inn (Mclean)
Side 2: Blue Mitchell (trumpet) Jackie McLean (alto sax) Tina Brooks (tenor sax) Kenny Drew (piano) Paul Chambers (bass) Art Taylor (drums) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, September 1, 1960
Side 2 selection: Appointment in Ghana (McLean)
U-2 spy-plane pilot Francis Gary Powers shot down over Soviet airspace photographing missiles. Russia outraged at US spying, Powers eventually exchanged for Soviet spy, KGB Colonel Vilyam Fisher. What kind of spy spells his name as Vilyam? US wins Master-Spy on points.
Different line up on Side one from Side two, sessions recorded eighteen months apart – a favourite Blue Note release trick. In between the two sessions McLean was forging a wider reputation through the stage play The Connection. I confess, despite the presence of Sonny Clark and Donald Byrd on the 1959 session, by heart is with the (some would argue) lesser 1960 “B-side”, Kenny Drew and Blue Mitchell, not unrelated to the appearance of Tina Brooks (that’s spelt Tina Brooks!! with two shriek marks) As in the selection Appointment in Ghana, with Paul Chambers – the common link – absolutely firing on all four cylinders. Possibly more. Gosh, this track swings.
Mclean plays alto slightly sharp, with an urgency and an acidic biting tone which sets him apart from the other alto players, in contrast to Art Peppers effortless lyricism, Lee Konitz dancing on air, Cannonball Adderley’s bluesy swing, Eric Dolphy’s sheer adventurousness, Lou Donaldson’s relentless swing, Paul Desmond’s cool musicality, Phil Woods unstoppable flow, Sonny Stitt’s hang on tight rollercoaster ride. An amazing instrument, which you can see coming, demands an instant LJC poll. Unfair include Charlie Parker as its so obvious, so the poll will have to be limited to other modern jazz alto players, and I am not going to include Kenny G or David Sanborn, because its my blog and I can do what I like. I know there are other great players but can’t include everyone.
Apart from Charlie Parker, who are your favourite alto saxophone players? Its a limited list, you get three votes for any of the twelve listed.
Both A and B sides of Jackies Bag serve up a good helping of Mclean’s bop period, following which he took on more adventurous players like Bobby Hutcherson and Grachan Moncur III helping to push in new directions. More on that in future posts.
Vinyl: BLP 4051 47W63rd labels, no DG, ear, RVG, mono
Despite its 1959-60 provenance it would not have been released until at least 1961, a prime candidate for the non-DG pressing dies, a first press – unless someone wants to tell me different and question the sellers claim.
Not my favourite Blue Note cover, as attentive LJC followers will be aware. Sharp corners and very little ageing, quite remarkable condition. There is no such thing as a bad Blue Note cover, some say.
THIS IS AN ORIGINAL PRESSING OF ‘ JACKIE’S BAG’ BLUE NOTE 4051 BY JACKIE MCLEAN. 47 WEST 63RD ADDRESS BOTH SIDES. RVG STAMP, ‘EAR’ AND ‘R’ ON LABEL. NO DEEP GROOVE. RECORD (VISUALLY GRADED) IS IN VERY GOOD/EXCELLENT CONDITION WITH ONLY HAIRLINE MARKS ON TRACK 1 ON EACH SIDE. COVER IS IN EXCELLENT / NEAR MINT CONDITION WITH VERY MINOR WEAR TO THE CORNERS. 43 W61ST ADDRESS AT BOTTOM.
Only on Ebay do people write in CAPITALS all the time, probably because it’s better suited to sellers hyperbole, shouting the virtues of the item, as in “MEGA RARE!!” and “TOP COPY!” – get the collectors adrenaline and cash flowing, in a way “mega-rare” doesn’t
I have had this record on a Japanese pressing for some years – stereo – rarely played it. No question, the original draws you in, demands you share in the musical experience, completely rewarding, worth every penny.
(Photos updated December 28, 2016)