Leslie Coleman McCann is probably best known as the Sixties jazz pianist who had most Soul. If you think that’s an exaggeration, all you have to do is drop everything and find a copy of Compared to what, which he recorded with Eddie Harris, in concert at Montreux, on June 21, 1969. Because that was a monument of what they call soul jazz. But even before that concert, Les McCann’s trio with Herbie Lewis and Ron Jefferson had imposed a new style: it typified the joy and pleasure to be found in playing, and listening to, the sheer groove in their music. At a McCann gig it was impossible not to be part of that joy or have the same desire to share it. You couldn’t resist stamping out the beat. The 1960-62 recordings on this album were a turning point: they helped jazz tumble into a new world. If today’s jazz has integrated soul music entirely, it’s because musicians like Les McCann spent the early Sixties bringing down the walls that separated genres.
The history of music shows us that different kinds and forms follow each other. And that the latest trend overshadows the one that came before it. Today it's difficult to say exactly which trend dominates, as there are so many music currents that overlap and intersect. Mainstream exists no longer. Yet one thing is certain: each music form is built on the music that precedes it. There would be no jazz without classical music, no rock without blues, no rock without jazz, no rap without soul music, no sampling without the riffs of either soul or rock… and therefore, inside each genre you find different chapters in the history of music. And that is why it is so important to understand their origins: they shed the light that is necessary for an understanding of the music born every day.
The richness of jazz lies at the origin of so much music today that it is essential to discover this creative wealth. The Essential Works of Masters of Jazz bring to light those 20th century creations that still exert an influence on the majority of musicians today — whether they are aware of it or not.
The Essential Works of Masters of Jazz gather the fundamental creations of the music of today.