Monday, March 27, 2006

Big Jay McNeely !

Cecil McNeely and his older brother Bob grew up in Los Angeles, where jazz reigned on Watts' bustling nightlife strip. Inspired by Illinois Jacquet and tutored by Jack McVea, McNeely struck up a friendship with Johnny Otis, co-owner of the popular Barrelhouse nitery. McNeely's live shows were the stuff that legends are made of -- he electrified a sweaty throng of thousands packing L.A.'s Wrigley Field in 1949 by blowing his sax up through the stands and then from home plate to first base on his back! A fluorescently painted sax that glowed in the dark was another of his showstopping gambits !
You can read more here

Big Jay McNeely - Jay Walk
Big Jay McNeely - Just Crazy


Blogger The DoorKeeper said...

I saw Big Jay in the early eighties in London - he was still tearing it up. The place was an old theatre with balconies and boxes and was about half full - lots of seats empty but he just walked around the place with a radio mike and blew in peoples ears til they grooved. At one point he was sat on the back of the seat next to me with his feet on the seat in front:

For a few mad minutes I had the Blues on my shoulder !!

Cool guy.

9:25 PM  
Blogger Reverend Frost said...

You lucky bastard :)

1:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Big Jay! In fact, I use "The Deacon's Hop" as a ringtone. I'm gonna post some Big Jay on Tuwa's Shanty, too.

Did you know Big Jay is still alive and working with a group called The Hollywood Combo? Check it out:

5:31 PM  
Blogger protogenes said...

wow, zoom

6:47 PM  
Blogger Chris Oliver said...

Wow, he is torturing that sax! There's a lot of material on Big Jay in Central Avenue Sounds, the oral history of the L.A. Jazz scene. According to several of the old guys interviewed, he was a fine bebop player before he switched over. There's a great quote where Jay talks about all the training he was going through (there were a lot of good music teachers in L.A., and all the Watts musicians were classicaly trained), but then when he recorded Deacon Hop, he had to empty all that training out of his mind and just wail.

8:26 PM  
Blogger Reverend Frost said...

Thanx pals, I like that !

9:44 AM  

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