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Don Alias

Percussionist par excellence Don Alias remains most widely known for his just work at the vanguard from the fusion motion, exploring both sides from the jazz-rock equation via contributions to landmark sessions headlined by Miles Davis and Joni Mitchell. Given birth to Charles Donald Alias in NEW YORK on Christmas Day time 1939, he was the child of Caribbean immigrants and was raised in Harlem, where he soaked up the lessons of community Cuban and Puerto Rican hands drummers. While in senior high school, Alias performed conga using the Eartha Kitt Dance Base, and in 1957 followed the singer on the Newport Jazz Celebration. He even so mothballed his musical profession to review biology at Erie, PA’s Cannon University, accompanied by a stint at Boston’s Carnegie Institute for Biochemistry. While in Boston Alias frequently moonlighted at regional clubs together with students from the close by Berklee College of Music, included in this conguero Costs Fitch and bassist Gene Perla; he also performed bass within a short-lived trio offering Chick Corea on electric guitar and Tony Williams on drums. When Perla arrived a gig with Nina Simone, he confident the singer to employ Alias to suppose drumming responsibilities; by the finish of his three-year stint, Alias was portion as musical movie director, eventually capturing the interest of renowned trumpeter Mls Davis, with whom Simone frequently shared festival expenses. Hired mainly because an auxiliary percussionist for the 1969 classes that yielded Davis’ fusion masterpiece Bitches Brew, Alias finished up devising the loose, syncopated tempo that drives “Kilometers Works the Voodoo Straight down,” among the record’s most celebrated slashes. After completing the recording, Alias spent a 12 months assisting Davis on tour before reuniting with Tony Williams on his 1971 LP Ego; he spent another several years like a employed gun, showing up on times including Weather Report’s Dark Marketplace and Jaco Pastorius’ traditional 1976 single debut before settling in NEW YORK, where he reteamed with Gene Perla to create the Afro-Cuban fusion combo Rock Alliance with saxophonist Steve Grossman, mounting a U.S. Condition Department-funded tour of SOUTH USA and releasing a small number of LPs including Marcio Montarroyos and Con Amigos. In 1977 Alias teamed with Joni Mitchell for Don Juan’s Reckless Child, the 1st in some jazz-inspired recordings that also included 1979’s Mingus as well as the live Shadows and Light; Alias was also the percussionist of preference for music artists spanning from vocalist Roberta Flack to saxophonist David Sanborn, the second option a normal collaborator for near 2 decades. Alias and Perla resurrected Rock Alliance in 1980 with pianist Kenny Kirkland and tenor saxophonist Bob Mintzer, issuing the acclaimed Mind Up; during this time period he also caused Pastorious’ new music group, Person to person, showing up on its self-titled 1982 Warner Bros. debut LP aswell as several following live produces. From 1985 to 1987 Alias resided in Montreal, where he fronted Kebekwa, a ten-piece fusion outfit boasting a punishing five-man percussion electric battery. Upon time for NY, he resumed his active session timetable, in the years to check out appearing on schedules led by Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, and Michael Brecker. In 1996, Alias and Perla produced another incarnation of Rock Alliance with guitarist Mitch Stein. This model of the group demonstrated its longest resided, and its own profile was additional elevated by some live recordings spotlighting the founding lineup. Alias and Perla had been also collaborating on the joint memoir during the percussionist’s unexpected loss of life at his Manhattan house on March 28, 2006. Alias was 66 years of age.

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