By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
By Kat Bein
By Jacob Katel
By Karli Evans
By Jose D. Duran
By Pablo Chacon Alvarez
As autumn has slowly descended on Greater Miami, so have a number of world-renowned senior musicians. The season has already brought piano maestro Bebo Valdés, master percussionist Candido Camero, and Candido's Conga Kings cohort Carlos "Patato" Valdés all of them in their eighties. Now Lou Donaldson, the great alto saxophonist who turned 80 on November 1, joins the club.
Early in his career, Donaldson recorded with drummer Philly Joe Jones, vibraphonist Milt Jackson, Thelonious Monk, and other bop luminaries, cultivating the seeds planted by Charlie Parker. He also played on the rarefied 1954 A Night at Birdland sessions with the Art Blakey Quintet (a predecessor of the Jazz Messengers) alongside a youthful Clifford Brown on trumpet, Horace Silver on piano, and Curly Russell on bass. After developing his own leadership skills with Blakey, Donaldson decided, as did dozens of other Jazz Messengers over the years, to form his own group.
Donaldson worked with many different lineups, usually those including pianist Herman Foster, and began to incorporate more R&B and gospel influences. Later more reflective soul moods began to round out the signature Donaldson group sound. This rich vintage mix is what Lou Donaldson brings to town.
Lonnie Smith the smooth sorcerer of the Hammond B-3 organ and long-time friend and collaborator of Donaldson's ensures the floorboards at Sandoval's will be pulsating. Donaldson's classic album Alligator Boogaloo, a swampy amalgam of soul jazz and hard bop, featured Smith prominently. In 1968 Donaldson and Smith released another highlight of this period, Midnight Creeper, an earthy, reserved record that, as the title suggests, swirls slowly with a nocturnal mystery. Andrés Solar