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Sweet Lou

June 4, 2010

Lou Donaldson has been playing music for some 70 years now. Playing swingin’ music. Back in the late 60s, when I was trying to learn to play electric bass, I studied his Blue Note records, in an attempt to figure out what made them swing so hard. Maybe it was the groovin’ cats he hired, such as Lonnie Liston Smith, George Benson, Freddie Hubbard, Ron Carter and dozens of others. Or maybe it was the times, and that magical first coming together of traditional jazz and R&B. We caught up with him the other night at Herbst Theatre, and when he slowly walked on stage, the audience stood up and applauded. No one had forgotten his legacy, nor is anyone likely to. He lit into his signature tune, “Blues Walk,” and the evening proceeded from there. 83 years young, and the man can still make every toe in the house start tappin’. Sweet Lou. Long may he swing.

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