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One Step Beyond Extra tracks, Original recording remastered

4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Extra tracks, Original recording remastered, February 10, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

This 1963 album was an exciting, innovative fence mender that drew together the warring factions of the hard boppers versus the avant gardists. Alto saxophonist Jackie McLean's roots reached back into the Forties where he learned from Bud Powell and Charlie Parker. On this album, he wedded swing with freer musical expression, and introduced four giants to the jazz world: trombonist/composer Grachan Moncur III, vibist Bobby Hutcherson, bassist Eddie Khan, and drummer Tony Williams, who at 17 years of age was a month from joining the Miles Davis Quintet. The music remains fresh and exhilarating to this day driven by a youngster's masterful, innovative approach to the drums. An alternate take is added to the original album for this Rudy Van Gelder remaster.
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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30
10:31
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8:26
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4:52
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14:39
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 10, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Extra tracks, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Blue Note
  • ASIN: B001O12TJ4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,284 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This record is more than just great, although it is that too - it's _important_. Here's why:

1. This is one of a slew of sessions "Anthony" Williams recorded in 1963 (including the companion piece to this album, Grachan Moncur III's _Evolution_, which features the same band, give or take a Lee Morgan) but it is, to my ears, the first recorded evidence of Tony playing in the style for which he would soon become famous. The authority and invention he brings to the drumkit on these four tunes is breathtaking.

2. This is the best showcase for the brittle, nervous trombone of Grachan Moncur III that I've heard; his solos are uniformly compelling. He also writes two great tunes, of which the eerily insistent waltz "Frankenstein" is the best-known.

3. The interplay between Williams and Hutcherson anticipates their early peak on Eric Dolphy's _Out to Lunch_. Moncur's _Evolution_ has a similar quality, but the material here is stronger, and the performances fresher and sharper. If you're a Dolphy fan, these records should sound pleasantly familiar. Remember, though - McLean's band came first!

And, of course...

4. Jackie absolutely burns it up. His solos are much more focused than - and yet just as adventurous as - those on the overrated _Let Freedom Ring_. "Saturday and Sunday" is especially riveting. The alternate take is rewarding as well. And I love his bluesy stroll through "Ghost Town."

This should rocket to the top of your list of McLean albums to buy right away. I like the collaboration with Ornette Coleman, _New and Old Gospel_, just as much, but this is definitely the place to start for McLean.
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Format: Audio CD
Legendary alto saxophonist Jackie McLean made dozens of records for Blue Note, and in my opinion "One Step Beyond" is his most adventurous effort and overall best album. And, it was until now, arguably the single best Blue Note date in the catalog NOT to have been remastered in the RVG series! First released on CD in the late 1980s, the original "One Step Beyond" had a major tracking defect that caused track 2 to begin in the middle of the song. It was quickly remaindered, and never fixed until a few years ago with the issue of Grachan Moncur's Mosaic Select set. Now Rudy Van Gelder has been given the opportunity to strengthen the sound (and hopefully fix the problem) on one of the clear Blue Note masterpieces. This April 30, 1963 recording is famous for introducing the modern jazz world to four major new players -- trombonist Grachan Moncur III, vibist Bobby Hutcherson, bassist Eddie Khan, and then seventeen year old drummer Tony Williams. (Hutch actually recorded earlier but these sessions have only recently emerged -- Al Grey and Dave Burns Sessions, see my review.) The musical explorations captured here are deeply searching, doing the title justice indeed, and the chemistry of the quintet is instantaneous and profound. The tracks are all amazing -- the mesmerizing polarity of "Saturday and Sunday" (an alternate take is also included), the towering, monstrous waltz of "Frankenstein," the playful "Blue Rondo," and the haunting "Ghost Town." Thankfully, this same basic group would go on to cut two more phenomenal sessions, McLean's ...Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
This cd is one of several cd's by Jackie Mclean from the mid 60's, where he experienced with modern forms, that do not rely on chords but on different modes. This difference led to new forms, as the new approach did not fit the traditional way of playing "choruses" (improvising over a set of chords for 12, 16 or 32 bars).
To me, Mclean did not feel comfortable in this new form as he did in bebop or hard bop. His sound is as great as ever, but I hear in his lines an uncertainty of direction.
The other musicians, Grachan Moncur on trombone, Eddie Kahn on bass and Tony Williams on drums, are at the top of their game. Williams is just so great at these open structures, and Moncur reminds me here of his playing on his own album - "evolution".
This is a mind opener CD, but it is not as great as Out To Lunch, Miles Smiles, Firebirds, or Evolution. Still, any serious collection of 60's jazz should have it.
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Format: Audio CD
By this stage in his prolific recording career McLean had moved decisively away from the changes based hard bop sound of his 50s releases toward a more open / freer / modal approach, but without sacrificing his melodic invention. This release is a totally successful alternative to the freer direction that jazz was moving toward in the 60s with Ornette, Cecil etc. McLean knew that he didn't want to go that far, but also that he had to find his own way to move on. Together with other like minded players - Andrew Hill, Bobby Hutcherson, Joe Henderson for example - they forged what at the time must have sounded like a compromised version of the "new thing", but today makes you wish that more players had worked in this area which cooly and intelligently adds to the jazz tradition in a very measured way. McLeans's alto sound is sour and fantastic, making him a direct predecessor to Roscoe Mitchell to these ears.
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