Jackie McLean Day

May 17, 1931 – March 31, 2006

Jackie McLean On Mars

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Saxophonist John Lenwood “Jackie” McLean was born on May 17, 1931, in New York City.

Neighbors who took an interest in his musical education included Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, and Charlie Parker. His high school band featured Kenny Drew and Sonny Rollins.

At 20, McLean appeared with Sonny Rollins on Miles Davis’ album “Dig.” He also appeared on the Charles Mingus album “Pithecanthropus Erectus” and was a Jazz Messenger.

In 1956, Jackie split his time between Charles Mingus and Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, followed up with the leadership of his own quintet in 1958.

From the late 1950s well into the ’60s, he performed with artists including Ornette Coleman, Dexter Gordon, Donald Byrd, Sonny Clark, Lee Morgan, Billy Higgins, Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson, and Mal Waldron.

After touring Japan in 1968, McLean began teaching at the Hartt School of Music and also taught in Europe.

Jackie McLean’s unique approach as a jazz instructor would be immortalized in Ken Levis’s 1980 documentary film “Jackie McLean On Mars.”


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