Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Mr. Gone

Don Alias

26 posts in this topic

PM records has just reissued "some shapes to come" by steve grossman in supposedly remastered form. for some reason they renamed it "the bible". but anyways, this is a very nice showcase for alias and i highly recommend it. i will put it on today in honor of mr. alias...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh No! This brings some tears to my eyes ........

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Woah...young. RIP :blink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

R.I.P.

Grooved with everybody from Miles, to Joni Mitchell to Santana.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very sad news! RIP, Don Alias.

stoneallian_stonealli_101b.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So long, Lungs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wherever I heard him, he was always a welcome presence, sometimes an outstanding one. RIP.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am SHOCKED. I was listening to his fantastic playing on Jaco's first, about an hour ago RIP :( The hookup he had with Jack DeJohnette was magical, especially on a boot DVD I have of a Herbie Montreux '97 performance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very sad to hear this. He brought something special to all the things he played on.

We were just recently talking about Stone Alliance on another thread.

I just received this one last week, and am really enjoying it.

RIP

682511.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Too much death--fortunately, this music will always have the spirit to match. RIP--a jazz/percussion great.

Edited by ep1str0phy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now that I have recovered a little from the shock ...... he was very special. He had the Latin feel, but he had the jazz feel as well, and in a heavily groove oriented way. On traps he played some of the meatiest funk you will ever hear - check out the Steve Grossman reissue - and still had the free form sophistication that was whirling around the set like Elvin. I bought all of these LPs back then. I saw them during their first European tour at the Sinkkasten in Frankfurt, and they were groovin like mad. Talk about greaze - plenty here. Don played a long conga solo introduction to Stevie Wonder's Creepin'. I approached him during intermission, and he showed me how to do the moose call on the conga - I was just beginning then. He was so nice, encouraging, friendly - always having a good time while playing. He had the Latin groove and the jazz flexibility, on a rare level. His discography is enormous.

I saw them again on the later tour with Kenny Kirkland and Bob Mintzer.

My thoughts are with Gene Perla - he lost his best friend and section mate of a lifetime. There couldn't be more contrast on stage - Perla looking like Elvis's younger sybling, rather pale skin, in a blue/grey suit, playing a transparent acrylic bass, and the dark colored Afro haired Alias in jean and black t-shirt. The old photos on the Stone Alliance Webpage tell the story.

Edited by mikeweil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

why'd they change the name of "some shapes to come" to "the bible". to commemorate the remastering?

alias does play some funky loose drums-also look for him doing this on jeremy steig's good albums.

i have the stone alliance album w. kirkland and mintzer in for grossman. it is really good for what it is. not too commercial. a little more electronic and tighter, but alias and perla lay it down. i wish the discographical info was better, though, since there are many guest stars on the album.

mike W, on one of the three live stone alliance discs there is a lengthy conga solo before "creepin". a little too long for a non-percussionist perhaps, as it is the longest tune on the disc, but you should check it out. some nice stuff on that album. they stretch out a bit more than on the other two live releases (is it the bremen one?).

maybe today i will dive in for the first time and pick up a few digital album downloads from the pm records website...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

and still no obit, even in the NY Times.

it ain't right.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've only heard one tune by Stone Alliance, "Sweetie Pie." Funky, funky, funky. I need to track those discs down!

RIP Don Alias

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Damn, thats two we lost this last week.

Anyone else here a fan of his drumming on Joni Mitchell's Shadows and Light? Man, he more than holds his own amongst PM, Jaco and Brecker.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Damn, thats two we lost this last week.

Anyone else here a fan of his drumming on Joni Mitchell's Shadows and Light? Man, he more than holds his own amongst PM, Jaco and Brecker.

Oh yes - when I joined Jennifer & Band it turned out they had For the Roses from that album in the book, and the saxist who had done the arrangement asked me to accompany him in Don's style. I gladly obliged, and now all the more so.

I wonder what was the cause of his death - I told another percussionist and he asked some insiders on the Frankfurt music fair, including LP's Martin Cohen, but they had no idea.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Damn, thats two we lost this last week.

I wonder what was the cause of his death - I told another percussionist and he asked some insiders on the Frankfurt music fair, including LP's Martin Cohen, but they had no idea.

i would guess a heart attack but i haven't heard anything official at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

April 5, 2006

Don Alias, 66, Percussionist and Sideman, Is Dead

By NATE CHINEN, NY Times

Don Alias, a percussionist who had a long career as a sought-after sideman, working with an illustrious array of artists in jazz and pop including Nina Simone, Miles Davis and Joni Mitchell, died on March 28 at his home in Manhattan. He was 66.

His death was announced by Melanie Futorian, his companion, who said the cause was under investigation.

Born Charles Donald Alias to Caribbean parents in New York, Mr. Alias liked to say that he learned percussion on the streets, picking up the techniques of Cuban and Puerto Rican hand drummers.

While in high school, he enlisted as a conga player with the Eartha Kitt Dance Foundation, which offered classes at a Y.M.C.A. Ms. Kitt herself took him along to the 1957 Newport Jazz Festival, where he performed with the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra, his first professional experience.

At the urging of his family, Mr. Alias (pronounced uh-LIE-ess) studied biology at Gannon College in Erie, Pa., and the Carnegie Institute for Biochemistry in Boston. Playing in Boston clubs by night, he met students from the Berklee School of Music, most notably the bassist Gene Perla.

It was Mr. Perla who got Mr. Alias a job as a drummer with Ms. Simone, even though he had no experience with a full drum kit. He handled the challenge and eventually became Ms. Simone's musical director. In 1969, his work in her ensemble caught the attention of Miles Davis, who was then developing the hazy jazz-rock that would suffuse his album "Bitches Brew."

Hired as an auxiliary percussionist for the album, Mr. Alias ended up playing a trap-set part, along with Jack DeJohnette, on the track "Miles Runs the Voodoo Down." His lean and loosely syncopated beat, inspired by New Orleans parade music, is one of the album's most distinctive rhythms.

Mr. Alias played the role of trap drummer again on a 1979 concert tour with Joni Mitchell, in a band that included the saxophonist Michael Brecker, the guitarist Pat Metheny and the bassist Jaco Pastorius. A live recording from the tour, "Shadows and Light," is often cited as a favorite among musicians.

Mr. Alias was the first-call percussionist for a host of other artists as well, including the singer Roberta Flack, the alto saxophonist David Sanborn (with whom he toured as recently as February) and the pianist Herbie Hancock. As a conga player, Mr. Alias could augment a rhythm section in a way that was urgent but never intrusive.

He also had a hand in forming two bands: Stone Alliance, an electric fusion project with Mr. Perla and the saxophonist Steve Grossman, and Kebekwa, a percussion ensemble based in Montreal. Kebekwa was short-lived, but several years ago Stone Alliance reunited after a two-decade hiatus. The group has three recent live albums on the Mambo Maniacs label.

In addition to Ms. Futorian, Mr. Alias is survived by his mother, Violet Richardson Alias; his son, Charles Donald Alias Jr.; his daughter, Kimberlee Marisa Alias; and four grandchildren.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've only heard one tune by Stone Alliance, "Sweetie Pie." Funky, funky, funky. I need to track those discs down!

You won't regret it - some of the meatiest grooves I ever heard. I remember Don adressed the polite Frankfurt club audience saying "We don't want you to sit still, we want you to go crazy!"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I blew off those Stone Alliance albums back in the day, mostly because I just wasn't into the whole Grossman/Liebman school of playing. Am still "mixed" on Liebman, but my partner-in-crime Pete Gallio turned my on to the Grossman/Stone Alliance PM sides. The thing I didn't like about him (Grossman) then - the sheer over-the-topness of his playing, is now something that I find, if not exactly "attractive", certainly and significantly more understandable in terms of how and why a cat would want/need to play that way. So I've been picking up the reissues, and have been mostly well pleased.

And in the process, I'm picking up on what I can't believe I missed the first time around - those grooves that Alias & Perla hook up on. Meaty, indeed!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

jsngry, when you say you are picking up the stone alliance stuff-in what form?

i am just curious if you are dipping into the digital download thing.

i am worried i won't listen to the CDs if i purchase them this way (no nice cover art, worse quality-160 kb MP3?)

but the price is nice-i could buy 4 downloaded albums for the price of one stone alliance japanese import CD at dustygroove...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Imports, slowly but surely.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.