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It was Charles Mingus who, in the mid-1950s, first tried to alter Jackie McLean’s playing style, which was fully entrenched in Charlie Parker’s sound at the time. “I never really sounded like Bird, but that was my mission”, said McLean during a WBGO radiointerview. “I didn’t care if people said that I copied him; I loved Bird’s playing so much. But Mingus was the one that really pushed me away from the idea and forced me into thinking about having an individual sound and concept.” McLean (born in New York on May 17, 1931; he died on March 31, 2006, at the age of 73) is featured here on his LP New Soil. Although it wasn’t the first session he recorded for Blue Note, it was the first one released. As the titlesuggests, McLean’s main goal on this album was to go beyond the limits of bop.
Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, May 2, 1959.