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Light Foot (1958)

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Lou Donaldson

In many ways, Blues Walk marked the culmination of Lou Donaldson's prime period as a hard-driving, straight-ahead bop saxophonist. Until that point, he had been turning out intense, furious bop workouts -- afterward, as its successor Light Foot shows, he began to slow down a bit. With Light Foot, Donaldson still was pretty firmly grounded in bop, but the tempos began to slow down, and his blues influence came to the forefront; furthermore, the bop tracks are hard bop, not straight bop, which tended to dominate his previous recordings. That diversity makes Light Foot an interesting listen, but the record suffers from slightly uneven material and performances. His quintet -- featuring pianist Herman Foster, bassist Peck Morrison, drummer Jimmy Wormsworth, and conga player Ray Barretto -- is usually up to the task at hand, but they tend to play conventionally. And, ultimately, that's what Light Foot is -- an entertaining but conventional release from an alto saxophonist capable of greatness. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine