As a living legend with over 60 albums released and countless appearances all over the world, Les has done it all. Les McCann is an American musical icon
From his debut album “Les McCann Plays The Truth” on Pacific Jazz Records, there was a prolific output (30 albums in 9 years!) including collaborations with The Jazz Crusaders, Stanley Turrentine, Joe Pass, and many others including his classic album on Blue Note Records with Lou Rawls “Stormy Monday”
Les McCann the Man has been a singular creative force of nature.
Then came ‘lightning in a bottle’ “Swiss Movement: Live at Montreux” with Eddie Harris that contained the smash hit “Compared to What?” During his time with Atlantic Records he experimented with electronic instruments (“Layers”) and the his daring masterpiece “Invitation to Openness” is recognized to this day as a trailblazing album ( One song “The Lovers was 19 minutes long – one whole side of that LP)
While Les continued to record and tour over the years, he also painted prolifically, (another passion) a true Rennaisance man. In the midst of all that, he famously discovered and signed Roberta Flack to Atlantic Records………..guiding the production of her debut album with his own producer Joel Dorn.
Whenever he appeared around the world, he carried his Nikon camera and with his unique access unwittingly captured the vibrant culture and changing times which ultimately became the book “Invitation to Openness: The Jazz and Soul Photography of Les McCann 1960-1980”
His huge influence expanded even further as hundreds of rap and hip hop artists voraciously sampled his music.
In 1994 Les McCann suffered a devastating stroke that affected his ability to play music and that would put an end to his touring days. ….. There would be no more tours………………. no more concerts……………. no more appearances.
His ability to earn a living as a musician stopped…..
His spirit however was and is undaunted …. but his health further deteriorated. (Cancer, diabetes, heart disease- he now has a pacemaker, broken hips,) to the point where he has not been able to walk, stand or even sit………… and he was alone and bedridden. The doctors hospitalized him for a time after 3 separate falls ……………… And today he is in an advanced care nursing facility with around the clock care.
Although he has previously had good health care insurance they are now maxed out. We have continued to investigate every possibility (MusiCares has helped, The Jazz Foundation of America has helped, and of course friends and colleagues have continued to help. )
Les is now 84…. And he is still Les McCann, he is still fighting- However, the reality is that he cannot return to his home. He urgently needs round the clock care in a facility that can provide a higher level of care and treatment ….. and especially the dignity that he deserves.
Les McCann has given generously and selflessly from the bottomless well of his heart…………………………………
Now, he needs us to give a little something back.
In the spirit which coincides with the season, if you have ever been moved to tears by his rendition of “With These Hands”, if you have shouted out the punch line….. “Trying to make it real, Compared to what!?” – If you have found joy in his hundreds of compositions …… please now reach into your heart and help our beloved friend …………………. Les McCann.
All donations at any level are gratefully accepted.
Also please note:
At the $1000 donor level, each contributor will get an original watercolor painting signed by Les himself ( choices to view will be provided through a secure site).
At the $2500 level, each contributor will receive an original watercolor AND a signed copy of “Invitation to Openness: The Jazz and Soul Photography of Les McCann 1960-1980” – with nearly 200 pages of photos taken by Les himself including: Miles Davis, Aretha Franklin, Dizzy Gillespie, Nina Simone, Roberta Flack, Count Basey, Louis Armstrong, Mahalia Jackson, Duke Ellington, Tina Turner, Richard Pryor, Ray Charles, Muhammad Ali, John Coltrane, B.B. King, and many more.
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