This page uses content from the Les McCann biography page on the English version of Wikipedia and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. This list of authors can be seen in the page history. Rotten Tomatoes disclaims any and all warranties as to the accuracy or reliability of the content.
Les McCann (born September 23, 1935, Lexington, Kentucky) is a jazz piano player and vocalist whose biggest successes came as a crossover artist into R&B and soul.
In 1969. Atlantic Records released Swiss Movement, a recording of McCann with regular collaborator and 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 actually written by McCann; fellow Atlantic composer/artist Eugene McDaniels wrote it years earlier.)
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 great Stevie Wonder albums of the decade. He was among the first jazz musicians to include electric piano, clavinet, and synthesizer in his music.
In 1971, he and Harris were part of a group of soul, R&B, and rock performers — including Wilson Pickett, The Staple Singers, Santana, and Ike & Tina Turner — who flew to Accra, Ghana for a historic 14-hour concert before more than 100,000 Ghanaians. The March 6 concert was recorded for the documentary film Soul To Soul. In 2004 the movie was released on DVD with an accompanying soundtrack album.
A stroke in the mid 1990s sidelined McCann for a while, but in 2002 he released a new album, Pump it Up.
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