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Les McCann

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Leslie Coleman “Les” McCann (born September 23, 1935, in Lexington, Kentucky) is an American soul jazz pianist and vocalist whose biggest successes came as a crossover artist into R&B and soul.

An early musical success for McCann was his winning of a Navy talent contest for singing; this led to an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. McCann’s main career began in the early 1960s when he recorded as a pianist with his trio for Pacific Jazz Records.

In 1969, Atlantic Records released Swiss Movement, a recording of McCann with frequent collaborator, saxophonist Eddie Harris, and guest trumpeter Benny Bailey at that year’s Montreux Jazz Festival. The album contained the song “Compared To What”, and both the album and the single were huge Billboard pop chart successes. “Compared To What” featured political criticism of the Vietnam War. The song was not written by McCann; fellow Atlantic composer/artist Eugene McDaniels wrote it years earlier. “Compared To What” was initially recorded and released by soul vocalist Roberta Flack. Her version appeared as the opening track on her debut recording, First Take (1969).
After the success of Swiss Movement, McCann — primarily a piano player — began to emphasize his rough-hewn vocals more. He became an innovator in the soul jazz style, merging jazz with funk, soul and world rhythms; much of his early 1970s music prefigures the Stevie Wonder albums of that decade. He was among the first jazz musicians to include electric piano, clavinet, and synthesizer in his music.

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  • LOVES-DESIRE

    WOW - I am so glad that I picked Les McCann for a Monday ..... He says that special person has him feeling good from his ear lopes to his toes ..... That's the way to start Monday off ..... Remember that special person that caused you to feel that good over the weekend ..... And as the morning started to form a day ..... They made you feel good from your ear lopes to your toes ...... Les McCann is a fine Jazz pianist and vocalist ...... Nice, Romantic, Music that makes you think of what you share with that special person .....

    4 Nov 2013 Reply
  • Sir_LePaul

    THE MAN!

    17 Mar 2012 Reply
  • NattyFierce

    Go on and Cry <3

    20 Nov 2011 Reply
  • aristamair

    I'm new here and still learning, but I'm going to attempt today sometime to get "Could Be" on here...just a little bit of heaven from Les and the Gerald Wilson orchestra. Hope you're still looking!!

    4 Feb 2011 Reply
  • AudioMurphy1

    I have Les's I'm always... "Waiting" on old scratchy vinyl and most of it on a cassette. Any high quality digital cuts available out there you can upload for the database? From LP McCann the Man @ '76 or '78 Thanks.

    24 Oct 2008 Reply

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