OBITUARY: Alto Saxophonist Jackie McLean, 74

OBITUARY: Alto Saxophonist Jackie McLean, 74

Jackie McLean
Photo by Michael Wilderman

Jazz alto saxophonist, composer, and educator Jackie McLean died Friday at his home in Hartford, Connecticut, after a long illness. He was 74.

Known in the jazz community as “Jackie Mac,” McLean was a noted performer who came up through the ranks playing with Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Paul Bley, George Wallington, Charles Mingus, and Art Blakey before establishing himself as a bandleader and releasing a number of recordings under his own name. His recognizable tone and style were influenced by bop and free jazz and he served as a notably creative force in the field throughout his career.

In the late ’60s he expanded his activities to encompass educating future generations of jazz musicians. He accepted a position at Hartt College of Music of the University of Hartford where he founded the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz. He and his wife, Dollie McLean, also founded the Artists Collective, a community center and fine arts school in Hartford’s inner city. He was recognized as a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master in 2001.

  • Associated Press obituary with photo added.

  • In-depth memorial by Owen McNally for The Hartford Courant.

  • Watch the four-minute video created when McLean was named an NEA Jazz Master in 2001.

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