Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

This is the 1st of your 3 free articles

Become a member for unlimited website access and more.

FREE TRIAL Available!

Learn More

Already a member? Sign in to continue reading

Jackie McLean: Vertigo

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

Vertigo combines quintet dates from ’62 and ’63; the latter documents alto saxophonist Jackie McLean inching towards the groundbreaking music of One Step Beyond, recorded two months later. The earlier tracks with Kenny Dorham, Sonny Clark, Butch Warren and Billy Higgins find McLean at the hard-bop summit, handling the cycle of minor scales that comprise the flagwaving opener, “The Three Minors,” as deftly as the straight-up blues and mid-tempo blowing vehicles that make up the bulk of the date. The latter tracks reunite McLean with Donald Byrd, a frequent late ’50s front-line partner; it is also McLean’s first recording with Tony Williams (Herbie Hancock and Warren round out the band). While the title tune is a relatively jarring line with no chord changes, McLean really doesn’t stray far from the winning Blue Note formula of smartly constructed hard bop and blues on the date, which, given the groundswell stemming from One Step Beyond and Destination…Out! explains why the date was withheld until ’81.