Format: LP, Vinyl
Lou Donaldson was one of Blue Note’s most popular artists. He recorded Bop, Hard Bop and Soul Jazz albums of a very consistent quality from 1953 until the mid-seventies. ‘Midnight Sun’ was one that did not receive a contemporary release and remained in the can until 1980. It was recorded on 22nd July 1960. The line-up was a familiar one for Blue Note – Horace Parlan (piano), George Tucker (bass), Al Harewood (drums) and on six of the seven tracks Ray Barretto (congas). ‘Candy’ is a delightful introduction and has brisk tempo and a light touch. The ballad ‘Midnight Sun’ is a nice tune, well performed, but if a bit of a ‘standard’ standard. The Al Jolson song ‘Avalon’ is a fast-paced Latin tune that skips along with a grace and charm that Donaldson’s fluid alto captures gloriously. Donaldson stretches out on the fast tempoed Tadd Dameron penned ‘The Squirrel’ as do Horace Parlan and Ray Barretto. Donaldson’s own ‘Si Si Safronia’ is another enticing groove led track of the kind that was synonymous with the alto man. The Dorothy Fields and Jimmy McHugh Broadway hit ‘Exactly Like You’ starts very much in line with its melody, before Lou takes into a new direction with some inspired improvisation, whilst the rhythm section maintains an easy and appealing swing. Donaldson’s second contribution ‘Dog Walk’ is a basic R&B influenced tune that whilst has an allure and infectiousness that draws the listener in. ‘Midnight Sun’, not necessarily near the top of Lou Donaldson’s extensive discography, is still one very fine album that is well worth investigating.