Jordan McLean (musician)

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Jordan McLean
Jordan McLean
Jordan McLean
BornApril 24, 1974
EducationSUNY Purchase, Summa Cum Laude, B.A. in Composition
OccupationTrumpeter, composer, producer
Years active1992–present
Known forAntibalas (member), System Dialing Records (co-founder)

Jordan McLean is a New York City-based composer, arranger, bandleader, trumpeter, producer and educator. McLean has been active in the professional music world since 1995, having performed, recorded and collaborated with a multitude of musicians, ensembles and performance organizations around the world. [1]

Early life and education[edit]

Born in New Rochelle, New York on April 24, 1974, Jordan is the only child of Alan and Cynthia McLean (computer analyst and painter/community activist respectively). He was raised in and around New York City, including Hell's Kitchen, Astoria and Mamaroneck. At age 6, McLean began piano lessons with Michael Raskin, son of famed composer Gene Raskin and was given his first trumpet at age 10 via the PS 111 band program. McLean attended high school in Leonia, NJ. While attending high school from 1988 until 1992, McLean studied trumpet with teacher Ed Treutal, theory and band practice with legendary band director Larry Silverman, and travelled to Manhattan School of Music to attend their Pre-College program (1991-1992). After high school, McLean attended SUNY Purchase where he graduated summa cum laude in composition, was an ArtsBridge America Scholar and studied with compositional luminaries Dary John Mizelle and Joel Thome. [2]

Antibalas & FELA![edit]

McLean is a charter member and lead trumpeter of the world-renowned Afrobeat band Antibalas, created in 1998 by Bosco Mann and Martin Perna. His work with the Afrobeat ensemble has led to collaborations with such iconic musical artists as David Byrne, St. Vincent (musician), Iron and Wine, Pretty Lights, TV on the Radio, Patti Smith, Chic, Alabama Shakes, Medeski Martin and Wood, The Roots, Public Enemy, Paul Simon, Rod Stewart, Beyoncé, Angelique Kidjo (including her 2007 Grammy-winning album, Djin Djin), My Morning Jacket, Azealia Banks and appearances on Saturday Night Live, VH1 Divas, and two of Comedy Central's “The Comedy Awards. Other TV appearances include Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Conan, and The Late Show With David Letterman. His radio credits include performances and interviews on Minnesota Public Radio, National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered,” KCRW’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic”, and multiple appearances on New York's W-BAI, WNYC’s “Soundcheck”, Columbia University's WKCR, and the legendary KEXP in Seattle.[3]

In 2006, McLean began work as the Associate Musical Director, contributing composer/arranger and trumpeter for Bill T. Jones’ 2009 Tony Award winning Broadway production of Fela! As a member of the Fela! band, he has performed at St. Ann's Warehouse, on the television programs The View and The Colbert Report, and has composed and arranged for Patti Labelle. His work as a composer and arranger is featured on the Grammy nominated Fela! Original Broadway Cast Album.[4]

Solo Career & Collaborations[edit]

McLean is the regular trumpeter for Iron and Wine, with whom he has toured North America. He also performs with The Sway Machinery, with whom he has performed in clubs and synagogues around the U.S. and festivals in Europe, Canada, Mexico, Australia and Mali, including the Festival Au Desert, outside of Timbuktu. McLean has brought his unique performance style to club and festival stages throughout the US and twenty countries, including such esteemed festivals as Istanbul Jazz Festival and Montreux Jazz Festival, Bonnaroo, Coachella, WOMAD and many others, also having toured coast-to-coast for two consecutive years playing the Canadian Jazz Festival circuit.

McLean’s work as a recording artist includes sessions for famed producers such as Bosco Mann, Mark Ronson, Wyclef Jean and Tony Visconte as well as labels such as Daptone Records, Blue Note Records, Verve, Razor and Tie, Desco, Ropeadope Records, Ninja Tune, and JDub Records.

Other Notable Work[edit]

McLean’s original compositions have been performed in New York and throughout Europe by contemporary music ensembles such as Cadillac Moon Ensemble[5] and Till By Turning.[6] He has adapted and conducted Mauricio Kagel's Music For Renaissance Instruments[7] and actively commissions promising young arrangers for radical re-orchestrations of masterworks. Most recently he was commissioned by The Bronxville Public Library for a dance suit “Bronze In The Digital Age”,[8] a multi-media piece based on five sculptures by Pierre Rodin, and a new work, PANGRAM, for Siren Baroque chamber orchestra. Along with Herbie Hancock, he was a spokesman for The 2013 UNESCO International Jazz Day.[9]

As a bandleader, McLean has released two albums of original music with his nine-piece group, Fire Of Space. The title track of their album “Handbasket” is featured in the film Sleepwalk with Me.[10] The group has performed in venues throughout New York and Chicago, including as an opening act for Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings. McLean also served as a musical director for a suite of High Holiday services held at New York's Brooklyn Bowl. [11]

As an educator, McLean has been an adjunct professor of musicology at his alma mater, SUNY Purchase. He currently teaches private composition lessons at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music,[12] where he completed jazz trumpet studies, and has over a decade of experience with LEAP (Learning through an Expanded Arts Program) as a visiting artist in NYC public schools.

System Dialing Records[edit]

In 2010 McLean founded System Dialing Records with drummer, Amir Ziv. Together they formed the electro-acoustic group DROID which features such esteemed musicians as the world renowned Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista and former Miles Davis music director Adam Holzman. McLean and Ziv have also started the duo Directors, focusing on creating music for film score, albums and live performance. Since the label's creation, McLean has produced a solo album for Jeremiah Lockwood, produced and released a solo album of his own entitled World Gone Mad and most recently released the full-length studio album “New Vocabulary” in collaboration with Ornette Coleman and Adam Holzman.[13][14]


Year Album Artist Credit
2014 New Vocabulary Ornette Coleman Trumpet, Electronics, Co-producer
2014 Lockwood Jeremiah Lockwood Producer
2014 Azelia Banks Broke With Expensive Taste Trumpet
2014 Give The People What They Want Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings Trumpet
2013 A Color Map of the Sun Pretty Lights Trumpet
2013 B-Room Dr. Dog Trumpet
2012 Antibalas Antibalas Group Member, Trumpet, Vocals (Background)
2012 Folilla Amadou & Mariam Trumpet
2012 Love this Giant David Byrne Trumpet
2011 The House of Friendly Ghosts, Vol. 1 The Sway Machinery Field Recording, Group Member, Trumpet
2011 The Physical EP Superhuman Happiness Trumpet
2010 Fela! Original Broadway Cast Album Various Artists Arranger, Composer, Musical Director, Trumpet
2010 Õÿö Angélique Kidjo Horn
2009 Fall Down Seven Times Stand Up Eight Stuart Bogie Trumpet
2009 Hidden Melodies Revealed The Sway Machinery Group Member, Trumpet
2009 Multiply/Jim Jamie Lidell Horn, Trumpet
2008 Snowblind Smith, Erica Flugelhorn, Trumpet
2008 Soul Men: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Various Artists Trumpet
2008 Green Sparrow Mike Gordon Trumpet
2008 The Sway Machinery The Sway Machinery Member of Attributed Artists, Trumpet
2007 Djin Djin Angélique Kidjo Horn
2007 Security Antibalas Composer, Flugelhorn, Trumpet
2007 60x60: 2006 & 2007 Composer
2006 American Primitive Jeremiah Lockwood Main Personnel, Trumpet
2006 Note Bleu: The best of the Blue Note Years 1998-2005 Medeski, Martin & Wood Flugelhorn, Trumpet
2006 People HiM Flugelhorn, Member of Attributed Artist, Trumpet
2006 Zen of Logic DJ Logic Trumpet
2005 Batten the Hatches Jenny Owen Youngs Flugelhorn
2005 Multiply Jamie Lidell Horn, Main Personnel, Trumpet
2005 The Low Lows Parker and Lily Trumpet
2004 Somos Cordero Cordero Group Member, Trumpet
2004 Who is This America? Antibalas Composer, Group Member, Member of Attributed Artist, Trumpet
2003 Age of Epoch Fire of Space Trumpet
2003 Cool Rock Chris Lee Trumpet
2003 Here to There DJ Spinna Percussion
2002 Red Hot + Riot: The Music and Spirit of Fela Kuti Trumpet
2002 Talkatif Antibalas Trumpet
2002 Uninvisible Medeski, Martin & Wood Flugelhorn, Trumpet
2001 In the Raw Whitefield Brothers Trumpet
2001 Liberation Afro Beat, Vol. 1 Antibalas Trumpet


  1. ^ "Antibalas: About". Lever and Beam, LLC. Archived from the original on 2015-01-22. Retrieved 2015-01-23.
  2. ^ "Antibalas: About". Lever and Beam, LLC. Archived from the original on 2015-01-22. Retrieved 2015-01-23.
  3. ^ "Antibalas: About". Lever and Beam, LLC. Retrieved 2015-01-31.
  4. ^ "Fela! On Broadway Bios". Fela! On Broadway Bios. Retrieved 2015-01-31.
  5. ^ "Repertoire". Cadillac Moon Ensemble. Retrieved 2015-02-03.
  6. ^ "About". Till By Turning. Retrieved 2015-02-03.
  7. ^ "Kagel Nacht presents evening of music, theater". The Daily News. 2011-04-25. Archived from the original on 2015-05-22. Retrieved 2015-02-03.
  8. ^ "Chamber Chatter for the Week of November 20, 2013". MyHometownBronxville. 2013-11-20. Retrieved 2015-02-03.
  9. ^ United Nations. "International Jazz Day 2013 - Jordan McLean and Herbie Hancock". YouTube. United Nations. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  10. ^ "Sleepwalk with Me (2012) Soundtracks". IMDB. Retrieved 2015-02-03.
  11. ^ Blas, Howard JNS
  12. ^ "Jazz Faculty". New School. Retrieved 2015-02-03.
  13. ^ "System Dialing Records". System Dialing Records. Retrieved 2015-01-31.
  14. ^ Shteamer, Hank (2014-12-30). "A new Ornette Coleman album?! Our exclusive Q&A". Time Out New York. Retrieved 2015-01-31.

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