Text Box: JAZZ autographs
Text Box: HARMONIE AUTOGRAPHS AND MUSIC INC.

MUSIC AUTOGRAPHS & ANTIQUARIAN
Text Box: MUSIC AUTOGRAPHS AND EPHEMERA BOUGHT AND SOLD

Phone: 212-860-5541

 

Price: sold

EXCELLENT CONDITION

Dual autographed 8” x 11” glossy photograph of the jazz and r&b saxophonist and the blues and r&b vocalist who worked together from 1959 to 1961.  McNeely signs with the B flat signature beneath the autograph signifying his tenor saxophone.

McNeely (1927-2018) was known as “The King of Honkers”.  Trained and steeped in jazz, he made it from swing to bop and left bop in the late 1940’s just as it was first before the public to pursue rhythm and blues.  At the birth of rock and roll, the saxophone was the lead instrument and McNeely was one of the early instrumental gods in the new genre.  He was also a leader in the field of music stage business, as he would perform group syncopated routines and on difficult virtuosic passages on his back whilst kicking up his legs.  His first huge hit was “Deacon’s Hop” in 1940 which was for two weeks the top of the Billboard’s “Race Records Chart”. 

In 1959 McNeely paired up with Little Sonny Warner (1930-2007) and recorded a number of singles, “There’s Something On Your Mind” reached #5 on the R&B charts that year and a gold single for Checker Records. Also, the duo recorded on the Swingin’ label, “Back...Shack...Track”, “I Love You, Oh Darling”,  “Oh What A Fool” and “Psycho Serenade”.  Sonny left McNeely’s band in 1961 to sing with other acts, like B.B. King and Etta James.

McNeely found himself in a quandary in the 1960’s when his stage business was rejected by African Americans as playing in a stereotypical way to white audiences.  Further, in the early 1970’s when the saxophone was replaced as a lead instrument in rhythm and blues rock and roll and relegated to some bands as a back-up instrument and were replaced by guitars and synthesizers. So the Big Honker left music and became a postman in 1971.  In the 1983 when the saxophone became a lead instrument in some bands, McNeely saw an opening and was back leading his own band and touring as a guest artist. He was very successful, as his sound worked well with much of the music being released at the time.  Clarence Clemons, Bruce Springsteen’s saxophonist literally idolized McNeely and replicated some of his sound in his recordings with the Boss and on his own.  In 1994, pop culture reporter and author Jim Dawson wrote a biography of McNeely,  Nervous Man Nervous: Big Jay McNeely and the Rise of the Honking Tenor Sax!  McNeely continued to release records and tour past his 90th birthday, his last solo record came in 2016 when he was 89, “Blowin’ Down the House: Big Jay’s Latest and Greatest”.  There is a YouTube video of McNeely in Japan in June, 2017 on his playing with the local Tokyo jazz dance band Bloodest Saxophone two months after his 90th birthday!

Two very light creases on the verso which do not detract as they are so minimal. 

BIG JAY MCNEELY & LITTLE SONNY WARNER