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Wailing With Lou (1957)

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Lou Donaldson

Wailing With Lou is an appropriate title for this enjoyable set of straight-ahead bop. Whether he's riding the propulsive rhythms of "Caravan" or settling down into a ballad, Donaldson takes the center stage with his surprisingly full alto tone. He still displays a clear Charlie Parker influence, but he is beginning to break free and develop his own style. In particular, he relies on bluesy runs more than Bird, which give his music a soulful edge. But what makes Wailing With Lou so enjoyable is the hot interplay between Donaldson, trumpeter Donald Byrd, pianist Herman Foster, bassist Peck Morrison and drummer Art Taylor. All five musicians give enthusiastic, infectious performances. There's nothing out of the ordinary here -- just hard-driving bop and sensitive ballads, which are sure to please fans of the style. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine