Played with legends including Miles Davis.
Jazz saxophonist Jackie McLean, a performer and teacher who played with legendary musicians including Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins, died Friday. He was 73.
McLean, a contemporary of some of the 20th century's most famed jazz musicians, died at his Hartford home after a long illness, family members told the Hartford Courant.
McLean was founder and artistic director of the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz at the University of Hartford's Hartt School. He and his wife, actress Dollie McLean, also founded the Artists Collective in Hartford.
McLean, a native of Harlem in New York City, took up the soprano saxophone as a teen and quickly switched to the alto saxophone, inspired by his godfather's performances in a church choir, he told WBGO-FM in Newark, N.J., in an interview in 2004.
McLean went on to play with his friend Rollins under the tutelage of pianist Bud Powell. He was 19 when he first recorded with Davis.
He drew wide attention with his 1959 debut on Blue Note Records, "Jackie's Bag," one of dozens of albums he recorded in the hard-bop and free jazz styles.
He also played with Charles Mingus and Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, experiences that he credited with helping him find his own style as he tried to emulate the famed Charlie "Bird" Parker.
McLean taught jazz, African-American music, and African-American history and culture at the University of Hartford. He received an American Jazz Masters fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2001, and toured the world as an educator and performer.
McLean, a heroin addict during his early career, also lectured on drug addiction research.
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