Personnel: Jackie McLean (alto saxophone); Blue Mitchell (trumpet); Walter Bishop Jr. (piano); Paul Chambers (bass); Art Taylor (drums).
Recorded at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. Originally released on Bluenote (4038). Includes liner notes by Bob Blumenthal.
Saxman Jackie McLean's explorations of free jazz and the avant-garde were still a couple of years away when he cut this Blue Note album in 1960, but that doesn't mean CAPUCHIN SWING is a by-the-numbers affair by any means. Though its name isn't generally invoked when the tally of hard bop's greatest albums is made, it stands up alongside anything Freddie Hubbard, Hank Mobley, et al were doing at the time. With trumpeter Blue Mitchell proving to be a perfectly matched sparring partner, McLean pushes bop harmonies and structures nearly to the breaking point with his intense improvisations on a batch of original compositions with a couple of outside tunes thrown in. Throughout, McLean stirs the sonic pot in such a fiery fashion, you can just tell something's cooking that he hasn't quite served up yet.