LOU DONALDSON Blues Walk (Classic)
“Blues Walk”, originally released in 1958, is one of those unprepossessing Blue Note albums that, despite not arriving with an intimidating cultural reputation, does everything so right that it seems churlish not to warm to it.
The title track is smooth, slinky and, perhaps inevitably, bluesy. It’s reminiscent of Kenny Burrell’s “After Midnight” album, perhaps due to the common component of conga player Ray Barretto: I’m fresh enough to jazz that congas are still something of a novelty to me. “Move” is familiar from versions by Art Pepper and Miles Davis’ “Birth Of The Cool” band, but here the smaller ensemble take it at an even more frenetic pace. Donaldson ladles his admiration for Charlie Parker all over the melody and blind pianist Herman Foster seems to pay similar tribute with his solo. Elsewhere, Donaldson’s playing is positively lyrical on the standards “The Masquerade Is Over” and “Autumn Nocturne”.
Classic’s carefully pressed and packaged reissue is sturdy in both sleeve and 200 gram vinyl, and, some overly-tizzy cymbal work aside, sounds lovely.