Lou Donalson

alto saxophone

Born in Badin North Carolina in 1926, Lou Donaldson played in US Navy bands in the 1940s alongside Willie Smith and Clark Terry. Initially playing the clarinet, he later switched to alto saxophone. In the early 50s he found himself in New York where he quickly established himself in Jazz circles. Soon he was teaming up with some of the biggest names in the bop movement, such as Thelonius Monk, Milt Jackson, Art Blakey, and Blue Mitchell. In 1952 he played and recorded with Horace Silver and in 1954 Donaldson, together with Clifford Brown, joined the Jazz Messengers. On 21st of february 1954 Donaldson cut what has become one of the all time greats of live Jazz recodings: A Night at Birdland with the Art Blakey Quintet featuring Clifford Brown, Horace Silver and Curly Russell. Soon after he signed a solo deal with Blue Note and made numerous albums with them over the next decade or so. During the squeeze on Jazz in the 1960 Donaldson often had to resort to R&B live gigs as bop was quickly getting out of fashion. He continued to tour prolifically in the USA and Europe mostly with small bands and concentrating on a more commercial style which did little for his jazz reputation. Nevertheless he recorded some fine Soul Jazz Albums during this period and by the late 70s he was gradually returning to his bop roots where his striking technique and inventiveness assured him of a welcome place on the international circuit. In recent years, his tone more luminous than ever, he has been playing high-quality music both live and on record.
Recommended Recordings

Swing and Soul Blue Note
Midnight Creeper Blue Note
A Man with a Horn Blue Note
Aligator Bogaloo Blue Note
Blues Walk Blue Note
Everything I play is Funky Blue Note
Good Gracious Blue Note
Time is Right The BN Works (Import)
Here 'Tis The BN Works (Import)
Gravy Train The BN Works (Import)
Natural Soul The BN Works (Import)
Birdseed Fantasy/ Milestone
Caracas Fantasy Milestone
Fried Buzzard (Live) Chess Records
Signifying Argo
Blowin' in the Wind


Go to Lou Donaldson's page at emusic for free MP3 downloads