Big Jay McNeely

1953-1955

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Though Big Jay McNeely is one of the lesser-known 1950s R&B saxophonists, his outsized, crowd-pleasing style, which incorporated long, swooping notes and blustering honks set against a raw, swinging backbeat, is still immensely appealing. The second volume of the French Classics R&B label's McNeely retrospective includes cuts like "Nervous Man Nervous," for which a pre-"Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" Platters supplied background vocals, as well as several previously released sides with overdubbed crowd noise added to simulate a live performance.

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