Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
Jazz master Lou Donaldson was originally scheduled to kick off the 2010 season of A Place for Jazz, but he fell ill the day before and had to cancel his performance. Many Nippertown jazz fans feared that they may have missed their last chance to see the veteran alto saxophonist in concert. After all, he was 83 years old.
But that wasn’t the case. And last month, Donaldson made good on his cancellation when he finally made it to the Whisperdome at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Schenectady for A Place for Jazz’s spring concert. Now 87 years old, Sweet Poppa Lou blew up a storm, from blistering bebop to strutting funk to the smoldering, greasy soul-blues jams that populated his classic Blue Note albums of the ’50s and ’60s.
And Donaldson’s band was every bit the match for him, too, featuring guitarist Randy Johnston, the dynamic drumming of Fukushi Tainaka and especially the hummin’ Hammond B3 playing of Akiko Tsuruga.
So don’t count Donaldson out just yet. Who knows? He might be come back to Nippertown for yet another round…
Alexander M. Stern’s review at Metroland