Jackie McLean (1931-2006)
That saxophonist Jackie McLean doesn't have the same kind of name recognition as other sax greats like John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Julian "Cannonball" Adderley, Ornette Coleman and Branford Marsalis is an indication that something is terribly wrong in the music appreciation world. Maybe it's because he doesn't have a "Giant Steps"—aka, an instantly recognizable magnum opus that changed jazz forever. True, but that doesn't really matter. McLean's gorgeous sax can be heard on so many landmark jazz albums. Here are some of my favorite examples.
"Blues and Roots" by Charles Mingus
Cornbread by Lee Morgan
Cool Struttin' by Sonny Clark
A lot of people know those records. If you don't, take a hint—it's time. Though he's a sideman on these three albums, his sax is the lead or most prominent instrument on so many of the tracks that you could easily mistake him for the bandleader. True story, Corey.