Lou Donaldson at 90

The last time I saw Poppa Lou live in person was at the Northsea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam a few years ago. As usual, he had that special command over the audience after playing just a few notes. And his humor and natural high spirits are always immensely infectious.

Lou Donaldson "Good Gracious!"
Blue Note, 1963.

So if you’re in the New York area today, don’t miss Lou Donaldson‘s 90th birthday celebration at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola where he will be joined by organist Akiko Tsuruga, guitarist Eric Johnson, and drummer Fukushi Tainaka.

Lou Donaldson‘s Blue Note LPs have accompanied me as a DJ throughout the years and even as far back as 1962 (I wasn’t even born yet), the liner notes to his “The Natural Soul” LP said this: “As a veteran performer, he knows the difficulties younger musicians face while hoping for a chance to be heard. He has not been selfish. He has brought many of those young musicians to the attention of Al Lion of Blue Note where they received their first recording dates. Many have become leading recording artists as a result.”

And the description that the album comes over without any gimmicks, still holds true today. Check his website quote “no fusion – no confusion”. “This present album could not carry a better title, “The Natural Soul”. For Lou Donaldson does not believe in gimmicks. There is no gimmickry here”. That’s probably the reason why he still has so much fun playing the music. Happy Birthday!

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