Among the many news columns about Jackie McLean the past few days, Mark Stryker of the Detroit Free Press hit a number of right notes in his appreciation.
There was nothing in jazz like the sugar-free sound of alto saxophonist Jackie McLean, who died last week at his home in Hartford, Conn., at age 74.
McLean produced a searing, anguished wail that rode the sharp side of the pitch like a cowboy trying to tame a wild steer. Even those of us who worship McLean recognize that his acidic tone and slippery tuning are not to everyone’s taste. But for true believers, McLean’s bittersweet sound remains one of the most soulful cries in American music, and the hot-blooded intensity of his style manifests the same urgent quest for self-expression that made us fall in love with jazz in the first place.
To read all of Stryker’s column, go here.