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Lou Donaldson

Lou Donaldson has long been an excellent bop altoist influenced by Charlie Parker, but with a more blues-based style of his own. His distinctive tone has been heard in a variety of small-group settings, and he has recorded dozens of worthy and spirited (if somewhat predictable) sets throughout the years.

Donaldson started playing clarinet when he was 15, soon switching to the alto. He attended college and performed in a Navy band while in the military. Donaldson first gained attention when he moved to New York and in 1952 started recording for Blue Note as a leader. At the age of 25, his style was fully formed, and although it would continue growing in depth through the years, Donaldson had already found his sound. In 1954, he participated in a notable gig with Art Blakey, Clifford Brown, Horace Silver, and Tommy Potter that was extensively documented by Blue Note and that directly predated the Jazz Messengers. However, Donaldson was never a member of the Messengers, and although he recorded as a sideman in the '50s and occasionally afterwards with Thelonious Monk, Milt Jackson, and Jimmy Smith, among others, he has been a bandleader from the mid-'50s up until the present.

Donaldson's early Blue Note recordings were pure bop. In 1958, he began often utilizing a conga player, and starting in 1961, his bands often had an organist rather than a pianist. His bluesy style was easily transferable to soul-jazz, and he sounded most original in that context. His association with Blue Note (1952-1963) was succeeded by some excellent (if now-scarce) sets for Cadet and Argo (1963-1966). The altoist returned to Blue Note in 1967 and soon became caught up in the increasingly commercial leanings of the label. For a time, he utilized an electronic Varitone sax, which completely watered down his sound. The success of "Alligator Boogaloo" in 1967 led to a series of less interesting funk recordings that were instantly dated and not worthy of his talent.

However, after a few years off records, Lou Donaldson's artistic return in 1981 and subsequent soul-jazz and hard bop dates for Muse, Timeless, and Milestone have found the altoist back in prime form, interacting with organists and pianists alike and showing that his style is quite timeless. ~ Scott Yanow
full bio

Comments

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who's on hammond ? bro. Jack Mcduff?
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I don't agree with the reviewer. Lou's Blue Note contribution s were so.e of his best bluey, funky jazz that was a forerunner for that period. His blur style of the 1960s is what put him on the jazz music map. His style during that period was just another successful extension of his skill as an altoisr. He worked out of the NY'S famous 802 music union. That style permitted the Jazz scene around the world.. The reviewers must be a youngster who did not live the Jazz music during those day s
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I digs this. Go Lou.
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Lou has made "It's Your Thing" HIS thing 2!!!!! :-) :-) :-) :-)
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Lou-is -n-outer space on this cut as he takes off!!!!!-spu d - n i c k ! - c . - f u l l e r on bone blow'in hard& smooth-s.cla r k on the 88's & art taylor on the skins keep in everyone 2-gather!-go o d Lp
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Love the bop
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raincoat stroll downtown,wat c h i n ' for splashes...
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Is jomopho Jon Fishman? That was an awsome tour with Pork Tornado and Lou Donaldson is absolutely awesome.
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LOU DONALDSON COOL BLUES
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if it were my thing(song playing is IT'S YOUR THING) I would put it back in it's jar and bring out ANYTHING I PLAY IS GONNA BE FUNKY over and over and over........ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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jomopho
I just love Lou Donaldson so much i did a national tore playing his hit tune Alligator Boogaloo with Pork Tornado in 2002 it was an instant hit in every city i played. hes Awesome.jomo p h o
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Gotta love Lou...Badin, NC stand up....we may be small in numbers but look at the talent that we produce.....
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Nice tone. Reminds me of Hank Crawford.
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listening to lou donaldson tune called dewey square. man the drummer is jabbing with his left hand like a boxer. is it art blakey?
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blues masters and fat cookers. dont forget to vote. remember the village gate nyc and radio station wrvr with dj les davis.how about the middle passage and across 110th street from wkcr 89.9fm columbia u from yesterday.
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nay man he's still hitting hard, played at the vanguard a couple days ago, I missed it
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billy3bam
is sweet lou still getting his mail delivered by the u.s. postman,or is the groundhog delivering his mail?

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