Archive for the Lou DONALDSON Category

Lou DONALDSON – Everything I Play Is Funky 1969

Posted in JAZZ, Lou DONALDSON on December 9, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Lou DONALDSON – Everything I Play Is Funky 1969
1995 Lp Issue. Blue Note 7243 8 31248 1 7 US
Jazz

Although purists might not find it as much to their taste as Midnight Creeper, Everything I Play Is Funky is easily one of the best examples of Lou Donaldson’s commercially accessible period of the late ’60s and early ’70s. Donaldson’s forays into funk and R&B-driven soul-jazz could sometimes sound stiff, but the grooves here — which feature many of the same players — are consistently limber and unforced. And, typical of the style, the grooves (not adventurous improvisation) are what make the album tick. For once, Donaldson’s attempt at an R&B cover in this case, the Lee Dorsey-sung, Allen Toussaint-penned “Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky (From Now On)” is pulled off well enough to make for an entirely convincing statement of purpose. That number kicks off an entertaining program also highlighted by three Donaldson originals — the cooking funk number “Donkey Walk,” which seems to inspire the fieriest solos on the record, the cheery calypso “West Indian Daddy,” and the hard bop-flavored “Minor Bash.” There’s also a version of “Over the Rainbow” done in Donaldson’s caressing, melodic ballad style, and the simple funk vamp “Hamp’s Hump.” It’s a nicely varied assortment, all anchored by the percolating rhythm section of guitarist Melvin Sparks, bassist Jimmy Lewis, and drummer Idris Muhammad (Charles Earland and Dr. Lonnie Smith switch off on organ, and Blue Mitchell and Eddie Williams do the same on trumpet). This is the sort of record that modern-day Donaldson disciples like the Sugarman Three cherish, and one of his few truly consistent efforts in this style. Recommended wholeheartedly to funk and rare-groove fans.
By Steve Huey.
**
Everything I Play is Funky is an album by jazz saxophonist Lou Donaldson recorded for the Blue Note label featuring Donaldson with Blue Mitchell, Lonnie Smith, Melvin Sparks, Jimmy Lewis and Leo Morris and two tracks with Ed Williams and Charles Earland replacing Mitchell & Smith.
The album was awarded 3 stars in an Allmusic review by Steve Huey who states “Everything I Play Is Funky is easily one of the best examples of Lou Donaldson’s commercially accessible period of the late ’60s and early ’70s. Donaldson’s forays into funk and R&B-driven soul-jazz could sometimes sound stiff, but the grooves here — which feature many of the same players — are consistently limber and unforced. And, typical of the style, the grooves (not adventurous improvisation) are what make the album tick… This is the sort of record that modern-day Donaldson disciples like the Sugarman Three cherish, and one of his few truly consistent efforts in this style. Recommended wholeheartedly to funk and rare-groove fans”.
**
Recorded at Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ on August 22, 1969 (tracks 4 & 5) and January 9, 1970 (tracks 1-3 & 6).
**
Fender Bass- Jimmy Lewis (2)
Drums- Idris Muhammad
Guitar- Melvin Sparks
Organ- Charles Earland (tracks: B1, B2) , Lonnie Smith (tracks: A1 to A3, B3)
Alto Saxophone- Lou Donaldson
Trumpet- Blue Mitchell (tracks: A1 to A3, B3) , Eddie Williams (tracks: B1, B2)
**
A1. Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky (From Now On)  5:15
A2. Hamp’s Hump  6:35
A3. Over The Rainbow  7:05
B1. Donkey Walk  6:32
B2. West Indian Daddy  6:22
B3. Minor Bash  6:08
**

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Lou DONALDSON – Midnight Creeper 1968

Posted in JAZZ, Lou DONALDSON on November 19, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Lou DONALDSON – Midnight Creeper 1968
2000 Issue.

Jazz

As he delved deeper into commercial soul-jazz and jazz-funk, Lou Donaldson became better at it. While lacking the bite of his hard bop improvisations or the hard-swinging funk of Alligator Bogaloo, Midnight Creeper succeeds where its predecessor, Mr. Shing-A-Ling failed: it offers a thoroughly enjoyable set of grooving, funky soul-jazz. The five songs including two originals by Donaldson and one each by Lonnie Smith (who also plays organ on the record), Teddy Vann, and Harold Ousley, aren’t particularly distinguished, but the vibe is important, not the material. And the band, Donaldson, Smith, trumpeter Blue Mitchell, guitarist George Benson, and drummer Leo Morris strikes the right note, turning in a fluid, friendly collection of bluesy funk vamps. Donaldson could frequently sound stilted on his commercial soul-jazz dates, but that’s not the case with Midnight Creeper. He rarely was quite as loose on his late-’60s/early-’70s records as he is here, and that’s what makes Midnight Creeper a keeper.
By Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide.
**
The partnership between trumpeter Blue Mitchell and alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson is one of the more undervalued in jazz history. The pair made a string of solid, funky soul-jazz recordings in the late 1960s, and none is finer than Midnight Creeper. Their focus was less on the pyrotechnical fireworks that dominated the previous 20 years of recorded jazz and more on bringing their music back to its roots—the blues. Mitchell plays with trademark consistency and control on the title track, patiently constructing his solo through motivic development with a laid-back sense of soulful swing.
By Matt Leskovic.
**
A definitive late 1960s soul jazz platter, Midnight Creeper finds the alto saxophonist digging into grooves laid out by a pre-fame George Benson, Blue Mitchell, Dr. Lonnie Smith and others. The tunes are just vamps but the group vibe is fantastic, you can feel that Lou Donaldson and his band were having a ball playing together.
By Nick Dedina.
**
George Benson- (Guitar),
Blue Mitchell- (Trumpet),
Lou Donaldson- (Sax Alto),
Leo Morris- (Drums),
Dr. Lonnie Smith- (Organ).
**
01. Midnight Creeper 6:32
02. Love Power 7:46
03. Elizabeth 5:37
04. Bag of Jewels 9:44
05. Dapper Dan 6:30
**

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Lou DONALDSON – Blue Breakbeats 1970

Posted in JAZZ, Lou DONALDSON on November 15, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Lou DONALDSON – Blue Breakbeats 1970
1998 Issue.

Jazz

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 through 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 1950s and occasionally afterwards with Thelonious Monk, Milt Jackson and Jimmy Smith, among others, he has been a bandleader from the mid-1950s 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. Donaldson’s bluesy style was easily transferable to soul-jazz, and he sounded most original in that context. His association with Blue Note (1952-63) was succeeded by some excellent (if now-scarce) sets for Cadet and Argo (1963-66). 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.
By Scott Yanow, All Music Guide.
**
Back in 1998, Blue Note came out with a series of little 35- to 45-minute “Breakbeats” samplers taken from the thick, rich catalogs of Bobbi Humphrey, Grant Green, Reuben Wilson, Lee Morgan, Donald Byrd, and Lou Donaldson. What you get on this particular volume are six very enjoyable examples of Lou Donaldson’s best jazz-funk grooves harvested from the golden formative years of this well-loved style (1963-1970). The collective personnel is pretty wicked, and includes Blue Mitchell, Melvin Sparks, Grant Green, Charles Earland, and Idris Muhammad. As usual, the background for the music is way bigger and runs much deeper than many folks realize. Anyone who has gone back and assessed Donaldson’s entire career knows that he was one of the few alto players who didn’t switch to tenor in the shadow of Charlie Parker during the 1950s. Donaldson’s chops were always as formidable as Bird’s or Earl Bostic’s, James Moody’s or Cannonball Adderley’s. His recorded legacy is a lot more diverse than you would imagine if all you went by were the funky tracks that have since been lucratively “legitimated” by the recording industry in response to the sampling habits of a whole generation of DJ mixologists. Not to complain — it’s very cool that Lou Donaldson’s funk-jazz is getting reissued and is being enjoyed by people young enough to be his great-grandchildren. It’s just that it would be awfully nice if more people were aware of the considerable stylistic range of his music. The root system of these “Breakbeats” exists in the amazing and to some extent overlooked records that Lou Donaldson made between 1952 and 1963. For maximum enjoyment and fulfillment, get some context for the funk and you’ll enjoy it like never before.
By arwulf arwulf. AMG.
**
Alto Sax- Lou Donaldson
Drums- Ben Dixon (tracks: 6) , Idris Muhammad (tracks: 1 to 5)
Guitar- George Benson (tracks: 5) , Grant Green (tracks: 6) , Jimmy Ponder (tracks: 2) , Melvin Sparks (tracks: 1, 3) , Ted Dunbar (tracks: 4)
Organ- Charles Earland (tracks: 1, 2) , John Patton (tracks: 6) , Leon Spencer, Jr. (tracks: 4) , Lonnie Smith (tracks: 3, 5)
Trumpet- Blue Mitchell (tracks: 2 to 4) , Ed Williams* (tracks: 1) , Melvin Lastie (tracks: 5)
**
01. Turtle Walk 7:54
02. Brother Soul 8:13
03. Minor Bash 6:08
04. Pot Belly 8:05
05. One Cylinder 6:45
06. Caracas 7:19
**

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