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Harold McNair

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b. 5 November 1931, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies, d. 7 March 1971, London, England. After playing calypso music as Little G in the relative obscurity of his homeland and then the Bahamas, saxophonist McNair went to America and then Europe in the late 50. He began playing with jazz musicians such as Kenny Clarke and Quincy Jones and also led his own small group, switching regularly between saxophone and the newly learned flute. It was on the latter instrument that McNair would become better known, with his unique phrasing earning him a series of non-jazz sessions with artists including Donovan, John Martyn, and CCS. For a while he commuted between Europe and the USA, eventually making London his base in the mid-60s. From then until his untimely death from lung cancer in 1971, McNair worked with British and American mainstream and modern musicians, and was also active in the studios. In later decades, his music was frequently ‘raided’ by samplers.

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05 November 1931 in Kingston, Jamaica

Years Active:

'60s, '70s