Lou Donaldson, “Sweet Lou,” has been famous at various times for his encounters with great
organists, his soul jazz outings (with “Alligator Boogaloo” being a big hit), his humorous vocals,
and his funny criticisms of avant-garde jazz and fusion. But one listen to Blues Walk gives one
plenty of evidence that there is much more to the great altoist than all of that, and that when it
comes to playing burning and passionate jazz with a solid rhythm section, few are in
Blues Walk, which was cut in 1958 when the altoist was 31, is classic bebop with Lou
Donaldson showing listeners why he is ranked so high. Born in Badin, North Carolina, he
originally played clarinet. However after seeing Charlie Parker perform, he literally tossed his
clarinet away for good, switching permanently to alto. Donaldson found a way to combine the
inspiration of Charlie Parker with his own bluesy musical personality, developing a sound that
has always been instantly recognizable. He moved to New York in 1952, was part of a famous
recording session at Birdland with Clifford Brown, Horace Silver and Art Blakey, was on major
albums with Thelonious Monk, Milt Jackson and Jimmy Smith, and has mostly led his own
bands from the mid-1950s up until to the present.
Lou Donaldson began recording as a leader for Blue Note in 1952. The Blues Walk album is one
of the great moments of Donaldson’s storied career. Listen to him romp on “Blues Walk” (a
famous bop line that he helped write), the explosive “Move,” “Play Ray” and “Callin’ All Cats,”
and do not miss him caressing the melodies of “I’m Afraid The Masquerade Is Over” and the
haunting “Autumn Nocturne.” With a solid rhythm section that is propelled by the conga playing
of Ray Barretto, Lou Donaldson stars throughout this brilliant session. No bebop or Blue Note
collection is complete without this stirring gem.
This pressing is on SRX Vinyl. SRX stands for “Silent Running Xperience.” SRX is our own proprietary formula, conceived and developed by Rick Hashimoto of Record Technology and manufactured by TPC Plastics. Its noise floor is fathoms lower than any other vinyl we know of out there past or present. Records pressed with it look like normal black discs until you hold them up to the light and see that they are translucent and smoky, silvery gray in color. The near-perfect silence of SRX Vinyl virtually frees the music from groove noise and draws you further into the listening space, setting it in relief so distinct, full and spacious it’s nearly sculptural. You hear more of what’s on the original tapes, not only of the notes played on the instruments but the experience of the event itself. That's why we call it Silent Running Xperience.
Like all Music Matters Jazz releases, this is cut from the original analog tapes, mastered by Ron Rambach and Kevin Gray at Cohearant Audio, and pressed at Record Technologies Inc (RTI). The gorgeous gatefold jacket is from Stoughton Printing in City of Industry, California and includes exclusively licensed photos from the original session inside.
See more Lou Donaldson records here