In Conversation

Big Jay McNeely

Episode Summary

Rhythm and Blues hero, Big Jay McNeely, was famous for whipping audiences into a frenzy. Known as the King of the Honkin’ Sax, his guttural, brassy blasts coupled with an intense onstage presence blew down walls the world over. McNeely’s hits on wax were equally potent. 1949’s “The Deacon’s Hop” is a lasting R&B instrumental and 1959’s “There Is Something on Your Mind” can eternally be found in cars cruising low and slow.

Episode Notes

Big Jay McNeely In Conversation with Mark "Frosty" McNeill

Rhythm and Blues hero, Big Jay McNeely, was famous for whipping audiences into a frenzy. Known as the King of the Honkin’ Sax, his guttural, brassy blasts coupled with an intense onstage presence blew down walls the world over. McNeely’s hits on wax were equally potent. 1949’s “The Deacon’s Hop” is a lasting R&B instrumental and 1959’s “There Is Something on Your Mind” can eternally be found in cars cruising low and slow.

Big Jay passed away in late 2018 at the age of 91 years old but just prior, Mark "Frosty" McNeill was fortunate enough to visit his home to conduct this career-spanning interview. In their hour-long conversation, Big Jay took us from his upbringing in the rustic Watts of the 1930s to the energetic peak of Los Angeles’ Central Avenue scene to the bustle of New York City’s Birdland circa 1957. Enjoy this visit with an iconic trailblazer.

In Conversation is produced by dublab. Sound editing and theme music are by Matteah Baim. Due to rights reasons music from the original broadcast has been shortened. To hear more, please visit dublab.com.