Jackie McLean: Melody for Melonae


Melody for Melonae


Jackie McLean (alto sax)


Let Freedom Ring (Blue Note 46527)

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Jackie McLean (alto sax), Walter Davis, Jr. (piano), Herbie Lewis (bass), Billy Higgins (drums).

Composed by Jackie McLean


Recorded: Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, March 19, 1962


Rating: 94/100 (learn more)

The incisive altoist Jackie McLean started in the bop camp, then became a core member of the Blue Note label's hard-bop contingent. But the new currents of modal and free jazz in the early 1960s made a deep impression on McLean's style. These came to the fore on his dramatic 1962 release Let Freedom Ring. The music on "Melody for Melonae" follows pared-down chord changes which convey a modal sensibility even while stopping short of pure modal improvisation. Similarly, McLean keeps within conventional tonality . . . but just barely. He pushes at its edges, especially with his much-noted use of shrill high-register squeals. This track is testimony to the greatness of the Blue Note label during these turbulent years in the jazz world, revealing its artists' ability to assimilate edgy, new sounds, while still retaining elements of the hard-bop sensibility that had drawn audiences to these musicians in the first place.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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