(King) 12 tracks - Re-issue of the original 1959 'King' LP album
Big Jay McNeely, the greatest jazz sensa-tion to come out of California since Lionel Hampton, is known to his thousands of fol-lowers as the 'Go! Go! Go!' boy. He plays a powerful lot of tenor saxophone. In fact, he has been known to devote 45 minutes to blowing hot and sweet in one number. It left him exhausted. A jazz devotee, Big Jay has studied under modern music greats. He has become the new jazz Pied Piper of teen-agers; has been called 'the greatest jazz artist since Louis Armstrong,' and also, 'California's hottest showman-saxophonist.' As Big Jay himself tells it, 'I first came to Los Angeles on April 29, 1927. I did not come there to get into the movies. I just came there to be born.' His was a musical family. Both parents and two brothers, Robert and Dillard, were musical. But Big Jay was 16 before he 'inherited' his first musical instru-ment.
While attending grade school, Big Jay thought it would be nice to take up the trom-bone. But Papa McNeely took inventory of the bankroll and decided the world would have to do without Big Jay's trombone toot-ing. So Big Jay went on to Jefferson High School, majored in music (harmony and the-ory), but couldn't get an instrument to play. Brother Robert had inherited an alto saxo-phone from a cousin. Since he now was em-ployed, he decided to go out and splurge on a tenor. That's how Big Jay came to 'inherit' the alto. Shortly thereafter, Uncle Sam sum-moned Robert, and his parting gift to Big Jay was his treasured tenor. That Big Jay made good use of the gift is musical history. He was a 16 year old high school student at the time. He and the tenor became the best of friends. Within six months he organized a 15 piece dance band, 'The Earls Of 44', after Fatha Earl Hines.
Withal, Big Jay lacked confidence in his musical prowess. He appeared in an amateur contest as a comedian—and was hooted off. Hurt, but mostly mad, Big Jay came back the next week. This time he had his sax along. He took second prize. The third week he won first prize with his torrid tenor. Family hardship actually started Big Jay off on his march to fame. His brothers were in the Army. His mother was a complete in-valid. Then his father took sick and couldn't work. Big Jay had to find a job. He formed a five man combo and went before the Union board for special dispensation. It was grant-ed, and Big Jay went to work at the Club Savoy, but because he was under-age, he had to leave the club between sessions and remain outside as long as he was off the stand. He finished high school while playing such clubs as the Rendezvous, Zanzibar, and Last word. Next thing he knew he was a hit on wax. By 1949, at the age of 22, he was on the national popularity and best-selling lists. H
is records have been favorites in pop-ular sales and have been spun in juke boxes and by disk jockeys from coast to coast. Recently, Big Jay's 'Jazz Concerts' at Shrine and Olympic Auditoriums in Los An-geles attracted thousands of Southern Cali-fornia teen-agers, who scream, shout, stomp and chant 'Go! Go! Go!' in mounting ex-citement to his rhythmic rompings. His agon-ized blue notes left them limp, disheveled and white with exhaustion as the perspiring Big Jay sank to his knees, played from a jack-knife position and finally stretched out on his back, still torturing his tenor. Most of Big Jay's fans are of high school and college age, but the older folks find his music contagious, too. At the Shrine jazz con-certs, one woman came night after night and sat there, just knitting placidly. 'Oh, I feel it, all right', she said, 'I feel it. It's all inside.'