Alto saxophonist Jackie McLean was one of the few jazz players to come up through bebop and incorporate free jazz into his style. Even though A Fickle Sonance preceded McLean's intense 1962 album Let Freedom Ring, the playing remained in a swinging blues-oriented style, showing no hint of the direction his music was about to take. The sidemen on the date (Tommy Turrentine [trumpet], Sonny Clark [piano], and Butch Warren [bass]) prove to be an invigorating combination of musicians, however not as involved in the burgeoning free music as drummer Billy Higgins. At the time of these sessions, Higgins had already played with Ornette Coleman, providing a link to the avant-garde, but nevertheless his playing follows the hard bop pace of the others. McLean provides two original compositions, "Subdued" and the title track, while Clark, Turrentine, and Warren fill the remaining tracks.
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AllMusic Review by Al Campbell