Donaldson offers good jazz sampling in Cabaret show
Pushing 87, Lou Donaldson still is diggin' deep.
April's Jazz Appreciation Month concerts at the Cabaret Theater, Downtown, bear that name, and Donaldson was up to the task in the first of two sets April 2. From his opening theme song, “Blues Walk,” to his classic hit, “Alligator Boogaloo,” the alto sax legend wailed and roamed through facile explorations of songs.
There was nothing daring or risky about his play; he did not take the sax to the limits current stars such as Rudresh Mahanthappa are doing. But it would be safe to say that is not what his listeners wanted. They wanted that soulful, rhythm-and-blues rooted music for which he is noted.
But it is also worth noting the room was far from full. The concerts in this series have drawn extremely well, but the cabaret space was about a quarter empty.
Nonetheless, Donaldson offered a good sampling of his work, playing his soulful hits as well as bebop and hard bop favorites as Charlie Parker's “Wee” and “Bye Bye Blackbird” done in a Miles Davis fashion.
He also offered steady blasts at the “fusion and confusion” players of today, promising there would be not music that sounded like that of “Kenny G, Najee, Spyro Gyra or 50 Cent, who isn't worth a quarter.”
Led by Pittsburgh native guitarist Eric Johnson, his three standmates offered good backing. From “Blues Walk” on through the set, Johnson constructed solos that had the strong flavor of Wes Montgomery.
Organist Akiko Tsuruga was a delicate powerhouse all night, particularly standing out when Donaldson has some reed problems on “Alligator Boogaloo “ and she had to extend her solo while he made repairs. Her work was outstanding, building in passion steadily.
Donaldson also offered some vocals that could have just as easily been omitted. His work on “What a Wonderful World” and “Whiskey Drinking Woman” seemed, however, to be ways of conveying a musical form of his banter.
Yes, Lou Donaldson might be predictable, but he has a lot of soul.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh native Burdell sticks to passion — bringing drumming to all
- ‘Boyz of Zummer’ Wiz Khalifa, Fall-Out Boy light it up at First Niagara
- Two conductors to join Pittsburgh Symphony
- Tickets on sale July 10 for Lady Antebellum at First Niagara
- Photo Gallery: My Morning Jacket pours on jams at Stage AE
- ‘American Idol’ auditions draw big crowd to Oakland’s Schenley Plaza
- Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s Music for the Spirit comes to CMU
- Douglas’ ‘High Risk’ is high-reward look at jazz
- Fall Out Boy, Wiz Khalifa combine genres
- Jamestown comedy center to entertain, teach