McLean and Bill Hardman were, at the time, frontliners in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. On three of the five numbers they are joined by Ray Draper, then a 16-year-old tuba player making his recording debut. "Flickers" (Mal Waldron), "Help" (Doug Watkins), and "Minor Dream" (by Draper himself) are all in minor keys and have a misterioso air. The quintet-only "Beau Jack," a funky blues, and "Mirage," a bittersweet ballad, leaven things thereafter. Hardman displays a delicacy with a mute and McLean shows–for all the comparisons with Bird–a strong Sonny Rollins influence. Draper’s murder in 1983, by a street criminal, put an end to what was the beginning of a comeback after years of personal struggle.
with Ray Draper, Bill Hardman, Mal Waldron, Doug Watkins, Arthur Taylor