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Jackie McLean

Interestingly, I can find no leader dates for McLean during the calendar year of 1958. His last session as a leader, according to jazzdiscography.com, lordisco, jazzdisco.org, was december 27, 1957, and the next session as leader was January 18th, 1959. I found two sessions as sideman, but they are 11 months apart: one with Sonny Clark in December 1958 and one with Donald Byrd in January 1958.

If there are any McLean biographers who would chime, I think it would be interesting to know what he was doing in that time, if he wasn't recording? I would think if he was at least touring that at least ONE of those live sessions would be recorded and included in his discography, but I cannot find anything.

-Jesse Soursourian, Administrative Assistant

Discussion Topic: 


The available short biographies of McLean don't address this gap. Grove, for example, suggests that he was with Mingus 1958-9 and Art Blakey 1956-58. But as you point out there are no recordings between January and December of '58. McLean did have problems with addictioin for most of the 1950's, however. David Rosenthal's Hard Bop makes a number of references to this, and notes (p 121) "McLean's signing with Blue Note coincided with the beginning of his four-year (1959-1963) stint with the Living Theatre. This was a particularly lucky break, since his lack of a cabaret card--a result of drug arrests--made it impossible for him to perform legally in New York City jazz clubs." It's thus possible that McLean's absence from music in 1958 was a result of one of those drug arrests. Perhaps someone with more detailed knowledge of McLean's biography can confirm or deny that speculation.
--David Wild