Jackie McLean

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Originally issued in 1955, this is Jackie McLean's debut date as a leader. The band includes Donald Byrd on trumpet (himself a young lion at the time), pianist Mal Waldron, Doug Watkins on bass, and drummer Ronnie Tucker. A standard late bebop and early hard bop date (but then again, hard bop was still fresh and new at the time, and McLean was at the forefront of it), the album is most notable for its two McLean originals: "Little Melonae" and the beautiful blues "Blue Doll." Mal Waldron's "Mood Malady" closes the set with a wonderful showcase of his own use of extended harmonic reaches inside a conventional hard bop tune.

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