John Lenwood "Jackie" McLean was a legendary American Jazz alto saxophonist, composer, bandleader, and educator. Known for his distinctive tone, Jakie learned his craft, befriended and worked with some of the biggest names in the business---Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, and many others, including his son René McLean (an accomplished jazz saxophonist, flautist and jazz educator in his own right).
In 1970, he and his wife, Dollie McLean, along with jazz bassist Paul (PB) Brown, founded the Artists Collective, Inc. of Hartford, an organization dedicated to preserving the art and culture of the African Diaspora. It provides educational programs and instruction in dance, theatre, music and visual arts.
Jackie McLean received an American Jazz Masters fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2001 and numerous other national and international awards. He was the only American jazz musician to found a department of studies at a university and a community-based organization almost simultaneously. Each has existed for over three decades. Jackie McLean is one of the few musicians to be elected to the DownBeat Hall of Fame in the year of their death.