A highly talented alto, Jackie McLean career began early, under the influence of a few neighbours - Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker and Bud Powell, no less.
After some impressive interventions as a sideman, he recorded intensely for Prestige, then Blue Note during the 60's.
Serving time for bad habits, then being trashed by Blue Note like many other avant-guarde artists led him to refocus on live prestations, and education during the 70's.
A strong friendship with Charles Mingus also gave some fine moments recorded under Mingus name.
Beginner's best pick is possibly Vertigo, or the excellent and adventurous Let Freedom Ring.
John Lenwood "Jackie" McLean (May 17, 1931 – March 31, 2006) was an American jazz alto saxophonist, composer, bandleader, and educator, and is one of the few musicians to be elected to the DownBeat Hall of Fame in the year of their death.