The venerable hard-bop/soul-jazz master Lou Donaldson leads off the web streaming from the Night Club stage @ MJF at 7 pm. The alto saxophonist, a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, has appeared over the years on classic albums with Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Clifford Brown. He was an early member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, and had a long series of collaborations with organist Jimmy Smith. The Blakey hard bop and Smith’s soul jazz were crucial elements in the musical mix that Donaldson has plied in the subsequent decades.
In an afternoon chat long on laughter at Dizzy’s Den earlier today, Donaldson recounted tales of his long career. In response to a question about his memories of Houston musicians, Donaldson rattled off a long list and boasted that he could name the principal musicians in any U.S. city that ever had a jazz scene. “Cleveland,” his interviewer prompted him: “Well, I just met Joe Lovano,” was Donaldon’s reply. He proceeded to name many others, including Lovano’s father. As the audience filed out, Donaldson took the mike to continue the Cleveland roll call with Carl Stokes, the first African-American mayor of a major U.S. city – and friend of Donaldson. The impetuousness and comedic impulse in Donaldson’s personality comes through in his playing, too – hear it tonight.