Jackie McLean

Saxophonist & Composer

About Jackie McLean

Jackie McLean playing the saxophone

Jackie McLean, an American saxophonist, composer, educator and community activist was born on May 17, 1931, in New York City. He emerged as one of the most significant figures in the world of jazz, leaving an indelible mark on the genre with his distinctive style and innovative approach to the saxophone.

Growing up in the Sugar Hill section of Harlem, McLean was exposed to the vibrant jazz scene of the 1940s. McLean's journey into the world of jazz began when he started playing the alto saxophone at the age of 15 under the guidance of his godfather who played saxophone in the Abyssinian Baptist church. His talent quickly caught the attention of jazz legends such as Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker, Charles Mingus, and Miles Davis.


As leader/co-leader

Album Label Release
Lights Out! Prestige 1956
4, 5 and 6 Prestige 1956
Jackie's Pal Prestige 1957
McLean's Scene Prestige (New Jazz) 1959
Jackie McLean & Co. Prestige 1957


As sideman

Leader Album Label
Miles Davis Blue Period Blue Note
Miles Davis The New Sounds Blue Note
Miles Davis Dig Blue Note
Miles Davis Young Man with a Horn Blue Note
Miles Davis Miles Davis Vols. 1 & 2 Blue Note