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LOU DONALDSON - Blues Walk cover
4.55 | 3 ratings | 1 review
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Album · 1958

Filed under Hard Bop


A1 Blues Walk
A2 Move
A3 The Masquerade Is Over
B1 Play Ray
B2 Autumn Nocturne
B3 Callin' All Cats

Total Time: 34:08


Lou Donaldson (alto saxophone);
Herman Foster (piano);
Peck Morrison (bass);
Dave Bailey (drums);
Ray Barretto (congas)

About this release

Blue Note – BLP 1593 (US)

Recorded on July 28, 1958,Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey

Thanks to snobb, Matt for the updates


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If there is any album by Lou Donaldson to get, this is the one. Recorded back in 1958 with the title track being just one of those great Jazz compositions being nothing fancy, just great Blues. This is the second album utilising the same band with the first album being "Swing and Soul" released the previous year in 1957. Lou Donaldson was not your man for boundary pushing as Lou was from the mold of Charlie Parker and has played that way ever since but one thing although Bop and all it's varieties were Lou's staples he played them beautifully and always kept things interesting with a certain class and technique that emanated from his alto saxophone. Not only that, Lou Donaldson wrote many a fine Jazz tune with the title "Blues Walk" perhaps being his best in these early years before many of his albums became predominately Hammond B3 based but here Lou and band play straight standard Bop with Herman Foster on piano for album number three and Lou with Herman would be on a few more to come as he would play with Lou mainly till 1965. "Peck Morrison" is on bass with Dave Bailey on drums who had been playing with Lou quite a while by now and Ray Barretto on congas who eventually would appear on five of Lou's albums with this one being his second. The original review with the album states that Ray prefers to play Jazz than work with Latin Bands and yes there is some truth in that but perhaps that was then in the late 1950's but when the sixties and seventies arrived the reverse was the case as we all know. Don't expect any boundary pushing as I mentioned above, just beautifully played Jazz in the Bop mould with superb solo's over one great swinging beat.

Lou Donaldson has written three of the six compositions including the title "Blues Walk" which is what gets this little treat of an album underway with Lou stating the theme first up with just the percussion assisting and when one hears the tune you will hear where Lou originally hailed from which was down South in Carolina with that slight Southern feel to the Blues that Lou has created with him taking the first solo and as throughout the entire piece, band included we never stray to far from the original theme which is always in the listeners grasp but the quality is maintaned by still having that fresh approach over one brisk timed walk. Herman Foster lays one great little piano solo down and listen not long after the begining where he adds the repitition and the groove just keeps coming where later in the tune Dave Bailey on drums trades with Ray on his congas for a lovely little percussion break. "Move" which follows does have the band on the move with this quick little up-tempo composition with Lou going all out Bird with his solo playing those smooth rapid changes that Charlie Parker was the master off but hey Lou does a very good job himself with Herman back for a great follow up on piano. Lou was very good at ballads and with all that Blues and Bop we already have heard, it is great album sequencing as well with examplary playing and not just from Lou but the entire band and in "The Masquerade Is Over" the saxophone just soars over this snappy timed ballad. "Ray's Tune" is another Lou Donalson composition and yes it is for Ray Barretto himself to come to the fore with trade offs from Lou's alto and later a great break with both drummer and percussionist on this delightful Blues number. "Autumn Nocturne" is the other ballad on the album and Lou really stretches out more so than the previous due to the slower time with beautiful sensitivity where one could compare Dexter Gordon's approach that he had with his tenor saxophone on ballads being just lilting and beautiful. "Callin' All Cats" is the last and written by Lou ,with Herman and Lou trading off at the intro to this sprite album finsher played with the usual outstanding solo's from Lou and Herman that are the major component of this classic Jazz album.

Although we do not have anything crashing through Jazz boundaries what we do have is great listening Jazz that is played at an extremely high standard. The congas that were added to many of these style of Blue Note albums that came out around this period in the late fifties albeit players, Ray Barretto, Alec Dorsey etc are more used to provide a Southern grit touch to the music and not played with a slamming Latin approach but just there to add a beautiful texture and diversity to the music. You have to have this album you know. Although different to these other Blue Note tunes like "Moanin', Song For My Father, Sidewinder, Cool Struttin', Idol Moments" it is one of those Blue Note classics that you will play over and over again.

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