JACKIE MCLEAN — Swing Swang Swingin' (review)

JACKIE MCLEAN — Swing Swang Swingin' album cover Album · 1959 · Hard Bop Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
Matt
Jackie McLean had one major influence being Charlie Parker which this album,"Swing Swang Swingin'' will only will reinforce with some of the best alto saxophone playing recorded. Maybe it was the night or one of those bio- rythmn things but whatever Jackie was right on the mark with this recording. He just rips through them with great style and wonderful blowing. One has to remember he still has a long way to go in jazz at this stage in his career and Bop was his main stay and staple for this period in time. Pure swing is what the band has obtained when they recorded this session back in October 1959 with a mix of tunes being standards and show tunes and also one Jackie composition which is the album closer,"116th and Lenox". One great point for the album is the Quartet set up for the band which gives Jackie plenty of space to solo and if like me you are a big fan of his alto playing this a total musical delight. The band comprises Jackie McLean on alto saxophone with Walter Bishop Jr on piano, Jimmy Garrison, bass and he is young here with still another three years before joining John Coltrane and the ever reliable Art Taylor is on drums who had been playing with John Coltrane for two years already. Walter Bishop Jr who is the pianist has played with them all including Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Art Blakey and the list goes on but it is no suprise because Walter could play Hard Bop with the best but at this time he had been in inactive for several years and had only recently returned to playing jazz but you would never guess.

Big and bold is the sound emanating for Jackie's alto for the whole album and with the opening bar of "Whats New" that is Jackie's sound which he does not veer from for the albums duration with Walter on piano an absolute delight with his solos that just compliment Jackie's playing."Lets Face The Music and Dance" is bopped right up from its original form with swing and drive and Jackie really hits the heights with a solo that just rips through the tune with Walter following using the same approach on this up tempo version. The rythmn section of Jimmy and Art are superb throughout and provide a rock solid founation for Jackie and Walter to play on as with the next to follow "Stablemates". "I Remember You" the Mercer tune is given the same treatment as every composition is, with great swing and some of the best solos from Jackie as he just keeps them quickly moving and yes like Charlie Parker always lands right back on the spot with his finish. The Jackie composition "116th And Lenox" fits perfectly with all the others containing that up tempo approach that every tune was given in this album with some great quick play and wonderful changes that Jackie and the band brought to every tune recorded during this session.

Alfred Lion wrote the title for the album for the session, as after he said,"They came swung and they split". Swung,swinged or swanged it does all for you this little album that Jackie McLean and the band recorded and it was one of those nights where everything just seems to flow right and everybody is in top form. This is one of those little nuggets that keeps bringing you back for another play and always a delight to hear.
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