When you hear the name Big Jay McNeely, the first thing that comes to mind is his blazing saxophone playing. Not only did he create a unique sound and rhythm in the 1940s that would open doors for countless other artists, but his music is today considered a precursor to the rock n’ roll explosion of the 1950s. The world mourned the passing of this musical giant in September of this year, but his legacy lives on with the posthumous release of his final album, and his first ever blues album, I’m Still Here - Big Jay Sings The Blues. The album is available now on both CD and digital via the Cleopatra Blues imprint. It is sure to make McNeely fans appreciate anew his significant contributions to the world of music.
This is Big Jay’s first ever true blues album and he uses it to reflect on his life growing up poor in Watts, Los Angeles. But from those humble beginnings, McNeely was able to rise up and become a major figure in the burgeoning Central Avenue Los Angeles Jazz that would also produce Eric Dolphy, Charles Mingus, and Johnny Otis among many, many others. Elsewhere on I’m Still Here, Big Jay pens his final song, co-written by producer Richard Ihara, entitled “You Never Miss The Water (Till The Well Runs Dry).” And finally, the titular song, “I’m Still Here,” leaves listeners with a picture of Big Jay still doing what he loves, playing music and making people dance! It’s a fine finale from a songwriter, musician and performer of his caliber.
At the age of 91, Big Jay McNeely - the “King of the Honkers” - has left the building, but his music will continue forever!
Those in need of a refresher about Big Jay's history can watch this short promotional documentary film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whAxAIR2MD4
1. You Never Miss The Water (Till The Well Runs Dry)
2. Baby, Please Don't Go
3. I'm Still Here
4. Once I Had A Woman
5. Please Don't Turn Me Away
6. I Was Too Blind To See
7. I'm Gonna Make It Alright
8. Woman, Woman, Woman
9. I Love To Feel Free
10. For My Baby
11. Way Back In The Old Days
12. Still Got A Long Way To Go (Going Back To L.A.)