Jackie McLean – 4, 5 And 6 (1956/2014) [HDTracks 24-44.1]

Jackie McLean – 4, 5 And 6 (Rudy Van Gelder Remaster) (1956/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 45:22 minutes | 542 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Digital booklet | © Prestige Records
Recorded: July 13 (#1-3) & 20 (others), 1956 at the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ
Remastered: 2006, Rudy Van Gelder at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ

This album of ballads and burners features sax man Jackie McLean in various small-group combinations. He is joined on three numbers by Hank Mobley and on two numbers by Donald Byrd (one of those numbers also including Mobley). The other three cuts are jazz quartets. Thus, the album title refers to the three personnel configurations used over the two recording dates.

This was McLean’s third album as leader and second for Prestige. The LP at the time helped to establish McLean on the jazz scene. Writing in the original notes, Ira Gitler said, “Jackie McLean is musically coming of age. His playing, out of Charlie Parker and Sonny Rollins, has become a personalized, more individual voice in 1956 and he has not lost any of the basic emotion, swinging qualities that help his style live up to the second syllable of his last name so well.”

In 1956 Jackie McLean was only beginning to assert himself as a true individualist on the alto saxophone, exploring the lime-flavored microtones of his instrument that purists or the misinformed perceived as being off-key or out of tune. 4, 5 and 6 presents McLean’s quartet on half the date, and tunes with an expanded quintet, and one sextet track — thus the title. Mal Waldron, himself an unconventional pianist willing to explore different sizings and shadings of progressive jazz, is a wonderful complement for McLean’s notions, with bassist Doug Watkins and drummer Art Taylor the impervious team everyone wanted for his rhythm section at the time. The quartet versions of “Sentimental Journey,” “Why Was I Born?,” and “When I Fall in Love” range from totally bluesy, to hard bop ribald, to pensive and hopeful, respectively. These are three great examples of McLean attempting to make the tunes his own, adding a flattened, self-effaced, almost grainy-faced texture to the music without concern for the perfectness of the melody. Donald Byrd joins the fray on his easygoing bopper “Contour,” where complex is made simple and enjoyable, while Hank Mobley puts his tenor sax to the test on the lone and lengthy sextet track, a rousing version of Charlie Parker’s risk-laden “Confirmation.” It’s Waldron’s haunting ballad “Abstraction,” with Byrd and McLean’s quick replies, faint and dour, that somewhat illuminates the darker side. As a stand-alone recording, 4, 5 and 6 does not break barriers, but does foreshadow the future of McLean as an innovative musician in an all-too-purist mainstream jazz world. ~~ AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos

Tracklist:
1. Sentimental Journey 9:57
2. Why Was I Born? 5:13
3. Contour 4:58
4. Confirmation 11:25
5. When I Fall In Love 5:32
6. Abstraction 8:00

Personnel:
Jackie McLean, alto sax
Hank Mobley, tenor sax (#4)
Donald Byrd, trumpet (#3,4,6)
Mal Waldron, piano
Doug Watkins, bass
Art Taylor, drums

“I was the engineer on the recording sessions and I also made the masters for the original LP issues of these albums. Since the advent of the CD, other people have been making the masters. Mastering is the final step in the process of creating the sound of the finished product. Now, thanks to the folks at the Concord Music Group who have given me the opportunity to remaster these albums, I can present my versions of the music on CD using modern technology. I remember the sessions well, I remember how the musicians wanted to sound, and I remember their reactions to the playbacks. Today, I feel strongly that I am their messenger.”
-Rudy Van Gelder

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