New Soil wasn't the first session Jackie McLean recorded for Blue Note, but it was the first one released, and as the title suggests, the first glimpses of McLean's desire to push beyond the limits of bop are already apparent.
They're subtle, of course, and nowhere near as pronounced, as they would be in just a few years' time, but – as with the 1959 material later issued on Jackie's Bag – hints of Ornette Coleman's stream-of-consciousness melodic freedom are beginning to find their way into McLean's improvisations.
His playing is just a touch more angular than the ear expects, especially given the very bluesy nature of pieces like McLean's 11-minute vamp, "Hip Strut," and pianist Walter Davis Jr.'s infectious boogie-woogie "Greasy." Coleman's influence is most apparent on McLean's "Minor Apprehension," where the freewheeling, Coleman-esque main theme is paralleled by trumpeter Donald Byrd in a definite nod to Don Cherry.
Jackie McLean, alto sax
Donald Byrd, trumpet
Paul Chambers, bass
Walter Davis Jr., piano
Pete LaRoca, drums
|Brand||Blue Note Records / Analogue Productions|
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