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Jake’s Take #2 Losing a Warrior…..

bailey1Just another warrior left us today. Donald Bailey had been visiting this planet since March of 1933 and swung the band for most of it.

Growing up in Philadelphia Donald went to the venerable Earle Theatre to be entertained. In my interview with Bailey he speaks of those times.

"In Philly they had a place called the Earle Theatre which was in North Philly and I always was coming from Germantown.

At a vaudeville show first you'd see the news of the day. Then you'd see the coming attractions for the following week. Then you would see a comedy and then the main picture. After the movie was over the curtain would open up and you would hear bah bah ba da da da da daaaa..there would be a big band there.
It would normally open up with a comedian like Red Foxx or Richard Pryor.

My main mentor was a drummer named Earl Curry who was the house drummer @ an after hours club in Philly.

When all the musicians came into town they would all go to this after hours club. You'd have all these great players like Benny Golson, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Jimmy Health John Coltrane all lined up waiting to play with this house band."

Bailey was adaptable and versatile playing traps with Jimmy Smith from 1956-1964. He was on "Live From Small's Paradise" and so many other Blue Note Deep Groove 33 1/3 albums. From the supper clubs to the strip joints Donald grew in stature as someone who could handle organ swing, polyrhythmic invention and funky blues and not just on drums evidenced by his harp playing on Blue Mitchell's "Graffiti Blues."

He was prolific on the east coast which gained him a reputation on the west coast with Harold Land and Bobby Hutcherson, Joe Sample and Herbie Lewis and Hampton Hawes.

Above all Donald Bailey came of age with the likes of Monk, Basie, Parker and Dizzy. Guys who played a true American Art Form called Jazz or Bebop or Blues or Swing. He did not try to replicate style but develop his own sound, hold it down and stick around. RIP Donald Bailey

That's my take, I want to hear yours....