Sweet Lou Lou Donaldson
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- 1You're Welcome, Stop On By03:57
- 2Lost Love05:49
- 3Hip Trip06:30
- 4If You Can't Handle It, Give It To Me03:55
- 5Love Eyes03:59
- 7Herman's Mambo04:40
Info for Sweet Lou
An examination of the famous Blue Note catalog reveals that, on the average, the style of music featured on Lou Donaldson's Sweet Lou is just as typical to the label as the recordings for which it is justifiably renowned. Few would remember the label at all if every Blue Note title was candy of the Sweet Lou sort, these sorts of productions and arrangements bringing to mind a cookie-cutter production line. Still, the passing of time has been in some ways been kind to these efforts, blurring the original impression given of careers headed downhill. Donaldson's tone on alto saxophone, regardless of setting, sounds like Charlie Parker after he has spent the night stuffed into one of those jars of pickled eggs on the menu in particularly hardcore bars. He stuffs banal compositions on this program such as 'If You Can't Handle It, Give It to Me' with sublime Kansas City jazz blues licks as if festooning a National Guard unit with candy bar wrappers.
The 1974 setting, following standard operating procedure for the period, is a nougat of trumpet and trombone charts plus a funky rhythm section infiltrated by trendy clavinet and synthesizer sounds. During two sessions a week apart, overlapping waves of session musicians nudged into each other's breathing room, ringers such as ex-bandleader Buddy Lucas blasting harmonica licks into the ears of A-team guitarists David Spinozza and Hugh McCracken. Bernard 'Pretty' Purdie played drums on some of this, leaving behind shards of ingenuity that in some cases represent the main reason subsequent generations of listeners returned to this material, its initial impact and subsequent shelf life roughly equal to that of a baggage clam stub. Coming back from a 'Hip Trip,' however, a traveler may want to save such an item to trigger fond memories, in this case of nicely executed cover of a tune by Don Patterson, ace jazz organist. Things fall into place nicely on the closing 'Peepin' Herman's Mambo,' any variation on the Afro-Cuban jazz gestalt being as familiar to the Blue Note hellions as rice at a wedding. Furthermore, it swings. Starting over again, 'You're Welcome, Stop on By' is a cover version of a funk hit associated with Bobby Womack, the presence of a female vocal team as alluring as signs announcing a chemical spill ahead. A commercial influence of a more pleasing nature is the continual copping from Stevie Wonder.“ (Eugene Chadbourne)
Lou Donaldson, alto saxophone
Ernie Royal, trumpet
Joe Shepley, trumpet
Danny Moore, trumpet
Garnett Brown, trombone
Seldon Powell, tenor saxophone
Arthur Clarke, tenor saxophone, flute
Buddy Lucas, harmonica
Horace Ott, keyboards, synthesizer
Paul Griffin, clavinet
Hugh McCracken, guitar
David Spinozza, guitar
Cornell Dupree, guitar
Wilbur Bascomb, bass
Bernard Purdie Jimmy Young, drums
Barbara Massey, vocals
Hilda Harris, vocals
Eileen Gilbert, vocals
Carl Williams Jr., vocals
William Sample, vocals
Bill Davis, vocals
Eric Figueroa, vocals
Recorded March 14th, 19th & 22nd, 1974, at Generation Sound, New York, New York
Produced by Horace Ott and George Butler
Jazz critics agree that “Sweet Poppa Lou” Donaldson is one of the greatest alto saxophonists of all time. He began his career as a bandleader with Blue Note Records in 1952 and, already at age 25, he had found his sound, though it would continue to sweeten over the years -- earning him his famed nickname --“Sweet Poppa Lou.” He made a series of classic records for Blue Note in the 50’s, and takes pride in having showcased many musicians who made their first records as sidemen for him: Horace Silver, Clifford Brown, Grant Green, Blue Mitchell, Donald Byrd, Horace Parlan, and others. After also making some excellent recordings for Cadet and Argo Records in the early 60s, Lou’s return to Blue Note in 1967 was marked by one of his most famous recordings, Alligator Bogaloo. Lou was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Letters by North Carolina A & T University and a scholarship was established in his name that is awarded to the most gifted jazz musician at North Carolina A & T University each year. He was inducted into the International Jazz Hall of Fame and is the recipient of countless other honors and awards for his outstanding contributions to jazz, America’s “classical music.”
Lou was born in Badin, North Carolina on November 1, 1926 -- the second of 4 children born to father Andrew, a minister and graduate of Livingstone College, and mother, Lucy, graduate of Cheney University who was a teacher, music director and concert pianist who recognized Lou’s expert ear for music and introduced him to the clarinet. He matriculated to North Carolina A& T College at age 15 where he received a Bachelor of Science degree and joined the marching band playing clarinet. After being drafted into the US Navy in 1945, Lou played in the Great Lakes Navy Band where, when playing for dances, he would also play the alto saxophone. After going into Chicago several times, he heard of Charlie Parker and, after checking him out, decided that this was the style of playing he would make his own. Lou moved to New York in 1950 or late 49 where he attended the Darrow Institute of Music and lived at 127th Street and 8th Avenue with his new wife, Maker, his longtime sweetheart from North Carolina who remained his wife and business partner for 56 years until her death in 2006. Together they raised two daughters, Lydia and Carol, and called the Bronx their home where Lou still resides and where he penned his signature tunes like Blues Walk that are still acclaimed classics today.
Today, at age 86, Lou continues to play at his very best, entertaining audiences worldwide with spirited performances that are always soulful, thoroughly swinging, and steeped in the blues. Lou’s hits on Blue Note Records are still high demand favorites and, today, he is the label’s oldest musician from that notable era of jazz. Source: www.loudonaldson.com
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