Jackie McLean: Hipnosis (1962/67) Blue Note/ UA (1978)

Further adventures in vintage Blue-Note-on-a-Budget twofer series… with more McLean, great stuff,  and some not so good news for Hubbard fans with the “other” twofer series…read on.


Selection 1: Slow Poke


Grachan Moncur III (trombone) Jackie McLean (alto saxophone) Lamont Johnson (piano) Scott Holt (bass) Billy Higgins (drums) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, February 3, 1967

Selection 2: Blues in a Jiff (Sonny Clark!)


Kenny Dorham (trumpet) Jackie McLean (alto saxophone) Sonny Clark (piano) Butch Warren (bass) Billy Higgins (drums) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, June 14, 1962


Hipnosis showcases two very different line-ups,  different times either end of the rapidly changing ’60s jazz scene:  – vintage bop with Sonny Clark/Kenny Dorham (1962) and avant-leaning post-bop with Grachan Moncur III (1967)

It is interesting to compare Hipnosis with the other UA McLean two-fer offering, Jacknife. I find this Jazz Classics Series sonically better (probably just by chance)  and musically has the edge, if only for the presence of a bubbling Sonny Clark and a brooding Grachan Moncur III. McLean recorded numerous times with Moncur, something about how the malevolant lower register trombone and offsetting acid-sharp alto gel, sweet and sour, a challenging sort of brass unison.

Both vintage McLean twofers are in my view essential, inexpensive good-sounding double vinyl. I expect most jazz fans already have them, but perhaps like me you have been neglecting to play them, so its good to get them off the shelf and onto the turntable where they belong. Not to labour the point, I am happy to revisit all vintage vinyl i.e. before digital /cd / barcode /modern reissue, download stuff. The twofers are over thirty years old, nearing forty years, close to nearly a  decade short of originals. That is “vintage”, good enough for me.

Vinyl: BN-LA 483-H2 Hipnosis– a “non-beige” twofer Jazz Classics series (1978), follow up to the slightly earlier BN-LA 457-H2 Jacknife  release

Blue Note Reissue Series logo 500 LJCQuite what United Artists thought they were doing releasing two twofer series – The Blue Note Reissue Series and The Blue Note Jazz Classics series –  is a mystery to me. Why call something a re-issue which has never been issued before? They are all Jazz Classics, whatever the word Classics means.

To keep you on your toes, some of the beige twofers include previously issued but impossibly rare whole albums from early Blue Notes releases, so you have to check the small print to see if you already have that title.

Our friends in Tokyo got the short straw, just half-a-twofer, I guess that’s a one-fer , just the 1967 session on this Japan-only King Records release. Cover’s nice though, eh?


Followers-of-the-evil-silver-disk500For Followers of the Evil Silver Disc, just to confuse matters, there is an alternative CD two-fer, which merges the 1959/1963 McLean sessions found on  the Liberty United Records LT 1085 Vertigo release with these Sonny Clark sessions on Hipnosis, with alternative shatter-font cover matching the ESD™ of Jacknife  (You are following this, aren’t you?):


Mosaic include Hipnosis in their box set on Moncur , and I am sure someone somewhere has released an 100,000 CD set (want delivery by Friday? Check Freight for two pantechnicon immediate despatch) of The Complete Recordings of Everyone Ever (Spoti-Tunes). Old fashioned, I still prefer my music in bite-size pieces, including a walk to the turntable every twenty minutes.





Collector’s Corner

In the collector-duelling chase for the rare, obscure and impossible-to-find (“especially in this condition“) stuff, it’s easy to overlook the commonly available, near mint, conveniently in a shop near you stuff. If it sold for ten times the price perhaps people would value it more. Even if you have all the McLean and Moncur Blue Notes, which I do, the two McLean twofers (is that a fourfer?) generously complement your collection, without duplicating any tracks.

That is more than can be said for the “other” Blue Note Reissue Series mentioned in the Jacknife post, which are actually reissues of previously issued material, the Artist Last Name series with the multi-colour dot screen covers. Chronologically, these were actually released before some of the better beige twofers like Hipnosis.


Curiosity got the better of me when I picked up this Hubbard edition BN LA 356-H2 for small change. On closer inspection, all thirteen tracks are taken from Hubbard’s other Blue Notes, all of which I have. Not a single previously unissued track, the tally of thirteen reissued tracks by album is:

4040 Open Sesame – 2
4056 Going Up -2
4073 Hub Cap – 3
4085 Ready For Freddie – 2
4172 Breaking Point -3
4196 Blue Spirits -1


Sort of a Best of Freddie Hubbard on Blue Note.

The one saving grace is this twofer tracks are all stereo, where I have originals often in mono. However the transfers are mostly not as good as they should be, uneven in quality. Some are OK, others  quite disappointing, I think due to that passing obsession with suppressing “tape-hiss” by cutting off legitimate upper frequencies, destroying the dynamic range. Or maybe the engineer was having a bad hair day. Or maybe the engineer of the day didn’t know how to handle the twin track tape the way Rudy knew how to. Or may be some other reason. That should cover all bases.

LJC-Michael-Caine- Professor Jazz fastshow30LJC says: based on the Hubbard, if all the others in this series are the same uneven quality, avoid the Artist Last Name Reissue Series multicolour twofers. I am generalising from a sample of one, always dangerous, but a sample of one is one more than a sample of none. Allegedly. Call me out.

Action Action Action!!!

On a positive note, Mclean must have recorded  some of the best and most durable, inventive and exciting music evah in the course of his forty odd year career. What’s your favourite Jackie Mclean track, and favourite Jackie McLean album? (they don’t have to be on the same record). Optionally, you might like to add why, more difficult, but I try to do it. Express yourself, the floor is yours.

20 thoughts on “Jackie McLean: Hipnosis (1962/67) Blue Note/ UA (1978)

  1. Jackie is boss. Have a King copy of Hipnosis, superb album. Wondering if the 1962 session was released somewhere else on vinyl ?


    • Trusty Jazzdisco references just these releases for that session:

      Blue Note BN-LA483-H2   Jackie McLean – Hipnosis
      Blue Note BLP 4116   Jackie McLean Quintet (not released)
      = Blue Note (J) LNJ-80118, (J) BRP-8035   Jackie McLean Quintet


      • Japan to the rescue…thanks LJC, helpful as always !
        Pity Music Matters/Classic Records don’t deal with this kind of “unreleased” sessions instead of reissuing the same popular albums over & over again…


  2. Aaaah, Jackie Mclean….I’m a huge fan; he is amazing!!!!

    top 5 tracks by the Mighty Mclean:

    Love and Hate (album “Destination Out”)
    Plight (album “Action action action”)
    On the river Nile (album “Jacknife”)
    Appointment in Ghana (album “Jackie’s Bag”)

    and 5 as a sideman….

    Pithecantropus Erectus (Mingus of course)
    Melanie (Dorham’s “Matador”)
    Blue Minor (Sonny Clarke’s “Cool struttin’ “)
    JM’s Dream Doll (Mal Waldron – “Mal/2”)
    The Coaster (Grachan Moncur – “Evolution”)


    • Love and Hate – yessir! Roy Haynes, Grachan Moncur… and that incredible, haunting background provided by Hutcherson. Priceless.


  3. “Swing, swang, swinging”. On of the very few quartet albums by McLean. He plays only standards and blues but with looseness, swing and expressiveness I only could find in the music of Sonny Rollins.


  4. Right Now! has a special place in my heart as it is the album that made me fall in love with Jackie McLean. ‘Poor Eric’ is just about the most beautiful and moving pieces of music I’ve ever heard, and the rest of the date is Jackie at his most turbocharged and fierce, though he did play more adventurously elsewhere. He broke more ground elsewhere, too, but it remains my favourite of his, maybe even my favourite album.

    I would love a post on it if you have it.


  5. LJC, hello!

    Favourite JM track for me has to be Old Gospel from the New and Old Gospel album. Unexpected sounds with Ornette (RIP) on trumpet. Classic Jackie.

    Love your site by the way. Stupefying collection!

    If you or anyone is on instagram please check out #oneyearcovered I’m photographing an album a day for this year and now I know what to shoot for day230.

    Happy hunting!


  6. McLean was remarkably consistent during the Blue Note era. Overall I would say my very favorite is his first release with Moncur, “One Step Beyond”.

    Over the years I had two of the “multicolored” twofers, the Herbie Hancock and the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis. Both were US pressings. Neither sounded very good, in spite of being in NM condition.


  7. HIPNOSIS is a terrific record. Sadly, I only have a recent reissue — Heavenly Sweetness? I can’t remember. The simple truth is, it doesn’t really matter — it’s worth having in whatever format you can find. Moncur recorded so little, really, and his lugubrious but delightful imprint is all over this LP.

    I think I have only ever tried one of the last-name-dot-covers Blue Note twofers and can’t even recall what it was… I didn’t keep it, obviously, because there’s no sign of it on the shelves now…


  8. Coincidence. Just picked up a very clean copy of Hipnosis last week (motivated by your recent article on Jacknife, I’ve been keeping my eyes open for the two-fers). Also found a nice copy of McCoy Tyner’s Cosmos (beige Reissue Series) – all sessions recorded by RVG with remix by Tony May. I agree that it’s strange to see “re-issue” followed immediately by the phrase “two previously unreleased sessions.” I’m curious about the relative sound quality of these recordings – will follow up after a listening session.


    • It was recorded by Rudy Van Gelder, wasn’t it, Dottore? LJC’s Evil Silver Disc says “Recorded in New York City”:

      I think it’s one of those (not so rare) instances where the RVG studio got miraculously transferred from NJ to NYC. What does the original rear cover say?


        • on Jazz Discography this session reads HACKENSACK, NJ

          Jackie McLean Quintet
          Donald Byrd (trumpet -1/5) Jackie McLean (alto saxophone) Mal Waldron (piano) Doug Watkins (bass) Ronald Tucker (drums)
          Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, October 21, 1955
          1. 11053 It’s You Or No One Ad Lib ADL 6601
          2. 11054 Blue Doll –
          3. 11055 Mood Malody –
          4. 11056 The Way You Look Tonight –
          5. 11057 Little Melonae –
          6. 11058 Lover Man –
          * Ad Lib ADL 6601 Jackie McLean Quintet, Vol. I – The New Tradition
          = Jubilee JLP 1064 The Jackie McLean Quintet
          = Roulette RE 129 Echoes Of An Era: Jackie McLean Sextet – Tune Up


          • Thank you so much, Dottore. Judging by the digital version, this must be one of the best sounding RVG’s that there are, in spite of the reverb which some may not appreciate (it’s all right with me).

            Whatever happened to that guy Ronald Tucker? All you can find out about him is that he was Jackie’s boyhood friend, and an exquisite drummer IMHO. Just vanished into the mists of time, no traces left except for this remarkable session.


  9. Very good material indeed !

    Speaking about unissued McLean’s record : Consequence LT-994. Also existing in King pressing.
    Brilliant session recorded in 1965 with Lee Morgan, Harold Mabern, Billy Higgins…

    Maybe someone has yet mentionned it somewhere….


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s