Alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson is an innovator.
He teamed up with trumpeter Clifford Brown and pianist Horace Silver to develop hard bop in the early ’50s, featured brilliantly on drummer Art Blakey’s classic live album “A Night At Birdland.”
In the 6’0s, he helped create soul jazz with a number of hit records using a Hammond organ backing, including his biggest hit, “Alligator Boogaloo.”
Now at age 88, Donaldson brought the house down at this year’s Portland Jazz Festival, and took the time to talk with me about his long and successful career.
As it happens, he was raised in a musical family, though he didn’t expect a life playing music.