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Jackie McLean – ‘Bout Soul (1996 FLAC)

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Jackie McLean - 'Bout Soul (1996 FLAC)

Jackie McLean – ‘Bout Soul (1996 FLAC)

Artist: Jackie McLean
Album: ‘Bout Soul
Release/Reissue: 1996
Genre: Jazz

01. Soul
02. Conversion Point
03. Big Ben’s Voice
04. Dear Nick, Dear John
05. Erdu
06. Big Ben’s Voice (Alternate Take)

‘Bout Soul does not mean the same thing as soul-jazz, as the opening track “Soul” makes abundantly clear. Written by Grachan Moncur III and poet Barbara Simmons, “Soul” is a tonally free tone-poem that features Simmons’ spoken recital. It’s about what the concept of soul is, not what soul music is, and that should not come as a surprise to anyone acquainted with Jackie McLean’s work. Even as his Blue Note contemporaries were working commercial soul-jazz grooves, McLean pushed the borders of jazz, embracing the avant-garde and free jazz. ‘Bout Soul is one of his most explicit free albums, finding the alto saxophonist pushing a quintet — trumpeter Woody Shaw (who sits out “Dear Nick, Dear John”), pianist Lamont Johnson, bassist Scotty Holt, drummer Rashied Ali — into uncompromising, tonally free territory. This is intensely cerebral music that is nevertheless played with a fiery passion. Although the music was all composed, it is played as if it was invented on the spot. Fans of McLean’s straight-ahead hard bop, or even of his adventurous mid-’60s sessions, might find this a little off-putting at first, but ‘Bout Soul rewards close listening. It is one of McLean’s finest modern contemporary sessions.

Alto Saxophone – Jackie McLean
Bass – Scotty Holt
Drums – Rashied Ali
Piano – LaMont Johnson
Trombone – Grachan Moncur III
Trumpet – Woody Shaw
Vocals – Barbara Simmons