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jueves, 1 de diciembre de 2016

Big Jay McNeely • Wild Wig

Cecil James McNeely (Los Angeles, Estados Unidos, 29 de abril de 1927), más conocido como Big Jay McNeely, es un saxofonista tenor de rock 'n' roll, también conocido como el Rey del Honkin' Tenor Sax (honk viene a significar bocina o bocinazo).
Inspirado por hombres como Lester Young, Illinois Jacquet o Coleman Hawkins, empezó a tocar con su hermano mayor, Robert McNeely (que tocaba el saxo barítono). En sus primeras grabaciones, estuvo acompañado por el batería Johnny Otis, participando en "Barrel House Stomp". Al poco tiempo, Savoy Records firmó con Big Jay un contrato de grabación. El jefe de la discográfica, Herman Lubinsky, sugirió el nombre artístico de Big Jay McNeely.1
El primer éxito de Big Jay fue "The Deacon's Hop", que fue un éxito de ventas en 1949. Su forma de tocar, honking, le hizo famoso en las décadas de 1950 y 60; también le dio fama el hecho de que, mientras actuaba, solía pasearse por todo el bar, incluso saliendo de él. Esta costumbre hizo que una vez, en San Diego, la policía lo detuviese en la puerta de un bar, por armar escándalo. Dentro del local, el grupo siguió tocando hasta que alguien fue a la comisaría, pagó la fianza, y llevó a Big Jay de nuevo al sitio para que pudiese acabar la canción. En esta época, grabó para los sellos Exclusive, Aladdin, Imperial, Federal, Vee-Jay, y Swingin'. Pese a algún éxito como la balada "There is Something on your Mind", su carrera musical empezaba a enfriarse.
Big Jay dejó la industria musical en 1971, para hacerse cartero. Debido a un resurgir del rhythm and blues en los 80, McNeely decidió dejar la oficina postal para retomar el saxo, con lo que volvió a grabar y a girar por todo el mundo.
Su saxo tenor Conn se halla en el Experience Music Project en Seattle.


Inspired by Illinois Jacquet and Lester Young, he teamed with his older brother Robert McNeely, who played baritone saxophone, and made his first recordings with drummer Johnny Otis, who ran the Barrelhouse Club that stood only a few blocks from McNeely's home.[1] Shortly after he performed on Otis's "Barrel House Stomp." Ralph Bass, A&R man for Savoy Records, promptly signed him to a recording contract. Bass's boss, Herman Lubinsky, suggested the stage name Big Jay McNeely because Cecil McNeely did not sound commercial. McNeely's first hit was "The Deacon's Hop," an instrumental which topped the Billboard R&B chart in early 1949.The single was his most successful of his three chart entries.
Thanks to his flamboyant playing, called "honking," McNeely remained popular through the 1950s and into the early 1960s, recording for the Exclusive, Aladdin, Imperial, Federal, Vee-Jay, and Swingin' labels. But despite a hit R&B ballad, "There Is Something on Your Mind," (1959) featuring Little Sonny Warner on vocals, and a 1963 album for Warner Bros. Records, McNeely's music career began to cool off. He quit the music industry in 1971 to become a postman.However, thanks to an R&B revival in the early 1980s, McNeely left the post office and returned to touring and recording full-time, usually overseas. His original tenor sax is enshrined in the Experience Music Project in Seattle, and he was inducted into The Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame.
In 1989, Big Jay McNeely was performing with Detroit Gary Wiggins [4] (European Saxomania Tour II) at the Quasimodo Club in West Berlin the night the Berlin Wall came down, "and Cold War legend has it that they blew down the Berlin Wall in 1989 with earth-shaking sonic sax torrents outside the Quasimodo Club in West Germany".McNeely and Wiggins toured in Germany and Italy with The International Blues Duo, Johnny Heartsman,Daryl Taylor (who worked with Arnett Cobb and Archie Bell & The Drells), Roy Gaines,Christian Rannenberg, Donald Robertson, Billy Davis, "Hyepockets" Robertson, Lee Allen.
Big Jay McNeely regularly performs at the International Boogie Woogie Festival in The Netherlands, and recorded an album with Martijn Schok, the festival's promoter, in 2009. The album was entitled Party Time, and one track from the album, "Get On Up and Boogie" (Parts 1, 2, and 3)", was featured on the vintage music compilation This is Vintage Now (2011).
Tenor saxophone honkers
The honkers were known for their raucous stage antics and expressive, exhibitionist style of playing. They overblew their saxophones and often hit on the same note over and over, much like a black Southern preacher, until their audiences were mesmerized. The style began with Illinois Jacquet's lively solo on Lionel Hampton's smash 1942 hit "Flying Home." Jacquet refined the honking technique in 1944 on the first Jazz at the Philharmonic concert in Los Angeles. Among the other saxophonists who started having honking hits in the late 1940s were Hal Singer (with the number one R&B hit "Cornbread"), Lynn Hope, Joe Houston, Wild Bill Moore, Freddie Mitchell, and many more.
McNeely was credited with being the most flamboyant performer. He wore bright banana- and lime-colored suits, played under blacklights that made his horn glow in the dark, used strobe lights as early as 1952 to create an "old-time-movie" effect, and sometimes walked off the stage and out the door, usually with the club patrons following along behind. At one point, in San Diego, police arrested him on the sidewalk and hauled him off to jail, while his band kept playing on the bandstand, waiting for him to return. The honking style was fading somewhat by the early 1950s, but the honkers themselves suddenly found themselves providing rousing solos for doo wop groups; an example was Sam "The Man" Taylor's eight-bar romp on The Chords' 1954 "Sh-Boom." Bill Haley also used honking sax men Joey D'Ambrosio and Rudy Pompilli on his rock and roll records, including "Rock Around the Clock." However, the rise of the electric guitar essentially ended the dominance of the tenor sax in rock and roll by 1956. Big Jay among "his best student" Gary Wiggins are those to keep this tradition still alive.

 Side 1:
01. Wild Wig
02. Benson's Groove
03. The Deacon's Hop
04. Artie's Jump

Side 2:
01. California Hop
02. Sunday Dinner
03. Man Eater
04. Cherry Smash

1949 - Savoy Records

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