Let Freedom Ring (180Gm)
Format: LP, Vinyl
‘Let Freedom Ring’ is generally regarded as one of the defining albums in Jackie McLean’s career. This quartet date was laid down on 19th March 1962. The quartet, alongside McLean, comprises drummer Billy Higgins, bass player Herbie Lewis and pianist Walter Davis Jr. Three McLean originals plus Bud Powell’s ‘I’ll Keep Loving You’ constitute the set. ‘Melody For Melonae’, a song about the saxophonist’s daughter, begins the album in modal mode. This 13-minute epic sounds Coltrane inspired. The ballad ‘I’ll Keep Loving You’ is beautiful. McLean’s solo is almost mournful, but Walter Davis Jr’s piano takes the breath away with its intense simplicity. ‘Rene’ is another modal piece with Jackie all over his alto. This fast, post-Bop tune includes elements of Free Jazz. ‘Omega’ straddles the old and new with its modal theme and the alto saxophonist, blowing screeching and hitting notes that a saxophone should not reach. ‘Let Freedom Ring’ sees McLean on the cusp alternating between Hard Bop and the avant-garde, two Jazz styles in which the saxophonist is equally at home.