Lou Donaldson With The Three Sounds
Session recorded at the Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey on February 18, 1959.
Lou Donaldson and the Three Sounds both had a tendency to slip into low-key grooves, which is what makes the hard-driving bop of the opener "Three Little Words" a little startling. Donaldson is at a fiery peak, spinning out Bird-influenced licks that nevertheless illustrate that he's developed a more rounded, individual style of his own. The Three Sounds are equally as impressive, working bop rhythms with a dexterity that their first albums only hinted at. That high standard is maintained throughout the album, one of the finest in either of their catalogs. Albums like this and Blues Walk established Donaldson's reputation as a first-rate alto saxophonist, since he flaunts a full, robust tone, a fondness for melody, and nimble solos over the course of the record. LD + 3 is pretty much straight bop and hard bop, with little of the soul-jazz the two artists would later explore, but this collection of swinging standards, bop staples, and a pair of Donaldson originals ranks as one of Lou's finest straight bop sessions.
All Music Guide
The Three Sounds were a very popular group in the late 1950s/early '60s and for good reason. Pianist Gene Harris, bassist Andy Simpkins and drummer Bill Dowdy always knew how to lay down an irresistible groove. They infused every song they played with a heavy dose of the blues and could outswing any combo while never being stingy with the soul. The same could be said for altoist Lou Donaldson. Influenced by Charlie Parker but a bluesier player, Donaldson in the 1950s held his own on sessions with Clifford Brown, Thelonious Monk and Jimmy Smith while gaining a strong following with his series of Blue Note recordings. LD + 3 is a very special recording from 1959 featuring Donaldson and the Three Sounds really inspiring and pushing each other. Starting with a passionate version of "Three Little Words," they dig into such bop classics as "Just Friends" and "Confirmation," playing with plenty of heat. The mixture of bebop fury with soul makes this a true Blue Note milestone.