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Big Jay McNeely

Primary Instrument: Sax, tenor

Born: April 29, 1927    

Big Jay McNeely

Big Jay McNeely brought the tenor sax to prominence in the golden age of R&B, known as the “King of the Honkers,” for his wild style and outrageous showmanship..

Tenor saxophonist Cecil “Big Jay” McNeely was born in Watts, California, on April 29, 1927, he formed his own band with jazz legends Sonny Criss (alto sax) and Hampton Hawes (piano) while still in high school. But in late 1948, when he was asked to record for Savoy Records, he abandoned jazz for something more raucous and struck paydirt when his second release, a honked-up instrumental called “Deacon's Hop,” went to #1 on the national R&B charts in February 1949. For the next several years, Big Jay was famed for his playing-on-his-back acrobatics and his raw, hard-swinging playing. During his act he'd leave the stage, walk across the top of the bar, and sometimes walk out the door of the club, often with a line of people following him....
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Source: James Nadal

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    King Of The Honkin' Sax

    Screwgun Records
    2011
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    Central Avenue Confidential

    Bourbon Records
    1999
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    Blow The Wall Down!

    Screwgun Records
    1990
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    Big "J" In 3-D

    Screwgun Records
    1988
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    The Best Of

    Screwgun Records
    1985
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    Loose On Sunset

    Screwgun Records
    1984
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    Deacon Rides Again

    Screwgun Records
    1983
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Featured recording “Swingin'”

Latest Release

Swingin'

Collectables (1958)

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