Some jazzmen take risks, experimenting with every album and evolving through the years of their career. Others, not so much.

Lou Donaldson is reminiscent of DJ Premier. When you hear a Premier beat, you know what you’re going to get; gritty, urban, pure hip hop, and anyone who works with him reciprocates the same emotion. Lou Donaldson is similar, where his sound is a great example of jazz with a touch of soul and funk. Analogizing Lou Donaldson to Premier serves other meanings, given that Donaldson is one if hip hop’s most sampled jazzmen.

Also similar to Premier, artists that worked with Lou Donaldson knew their place. Tonally, the alto saxophone is a loud instrument, and at times, piercing and overbearing. Donaldson’s sound is mellower than the typical alto, and in this 1967 album Alligator Bogaloo, falls into place perfectly. This album features excellent guitar work by a young, but accomplished George Benson (especially on One Cylinder), organ work by Lonnie Smith, Melvin Lastie on Coronet, and Leo Morris, who later became known as Idris Muhammad, on drums.

(Donaldson on the title track Alligator Bogaloo) “[W]e made the date and we were three minutes short. I said we don’t have no more material. And the guy said just play anything for three minutes so we can fill out the time. So I just made the riff and naturally the guys could follow it. That’s the only damn thing that sold on the record.”

LOU-Donaldson
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