Recording Date: Van Gelder Studio. Englewood Cliffs, January 8th, 1961
Re-release date (RVG Edition): February 24th 2009
Availabilty: CD, MP3 download, iTunes
A year before "Let Freedom Ring" and two years before 'Destination Out!" and "One Step Beyond", Jackie Mclean was here with "Bluesnik" playing blues based bop with a still discernable influence of Charlie Parker. The band - Jackie McLean (alto saxophone), Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), Kenny Drew (piano), Doug Watkins (bass), Pete La Roca (drums) – is tight and on top form with Freddie Hubbard and Kenny Drew both outstanding as they hurtle through six blues based originals.
The Jackie McLean compositions (the title track and "Goin' Away Blues") and the three by Kenny Drew ("Drew's Blues", "Cool Green" and "Torchin' ") together with Freddie Hubbard's "Blues Function" are conventionally enough based on the blues to be accessible yet already show the energy and tension that comes from the need to break out of the 12-bar straightjacket.
On top if this is the ever acerbic penetration of Jackie Mclean's sharp alto sax playing which introduces just enough dissonance and shift of tone centre to suggest all the time that the unprecedented is waiting to happen, just round the corner.
The RVG remaster improves the sound and unearths two alternate takes ("Goin' Away Blues" and "Torchin' ").
More fuel to the argument (if one was ever needed) that Jackie McLean was the best jazz player of alto sax after Charlie Parker.
Enjoyable and accessible jazz.
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Read our review of Jackie McLean's "Destination Out!"
Read our review of Jackie McLean's "One Step Beyond"
Complete Jackie McLean discography
Complete Jackie McLean sessionography
Jackie McLean biography
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