[JPL] Ralph MacDonald RIP
Jazz Promo Services
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Mon Dec 19 12:27:38 EST 2011
Apparently Ralph McDonald passed away on December 18th.
I had not really heard.
One of you alerted me to his passing.
All of us who were fans of CTI Jazz, know the work of Ralph McDonald. It
seems like he was the percussionist on every album that the label
released in the 70's. We also knew from the liner notes that he wrote
the song "Mr. Magic." Also during the 70's for a hot moment he was the
king of Disco with the song "Calypso Breakdown."
Anyhow, I went to his website (http://www.ralphmacdonald.com
<http://www.ralphmacdonald.com/>) for more
info about his passing and although there wasn't much there about his
passing, I found that the website was quite extensive in it's
documentation about the life & career of Ralph McDonald. The bio that
appears below is taken from his website.
There is a lesson here for artists.
Every one of you out there who feels that you have created a musical
legacy, that is worth other people remembering, should take not only a
visit, but also take a lesson from the website of Ralph McDonald.
Please do not leave it to others to document your legacy and then
complain that your legacy has not been properly documented, or that you
haven't been given props or that the whole world is out to get you.
Please take it upon yourself to make absolutely certain that YOU have
documented exactly what you want documented about yourself. And please
do so in such a manner that the documentation will speak for itself.
It isn't the responsibility of anyone else to make absolutely certain
that this is done except for Y-O-U.
Grammy-award winning percussionist, songwriter and producer Ralph
MacDonald was born in Harlem, NY in 1944. As the son of
Trinidad-immigrant and Calypso performer "Macbeth The Great," Ralph grew
up amidst the rise of Calypsonian revolution in New York City. The young
boy was often placed playfully on his father's drums for a moment or two
and, when he got older, MacDonald dreamed of someday achieving the
regional success of his father.
At 17, Ralph helped a friend carry his steel drums into an audition for
legendary performer Harry Belafonte. The friend got the gig, and
MacDonald became a regular at rehearsals. When one of the players in
Belafonte's Steel Band was late for a rehearsal, Ralph brashly declared
his ability to play, and wound up getting the job.
Thus began a 10 year stint with Belafonte that schooled MacDonald in the
music business. It also introduced him to songwriter Bill Salter, and
the two began writing together to fill time on the road.
At one point, young MacDonald had the nerve to tell Harry Belafonte that
despite all the gold records on the wall, Belafonte didn't really know
what Calypso was. Belafonte said "Fine kid - if you know so much because
your father was a Calypso singer, then you write me a song."
MacDonald delivered an album of songs: 1966's critically-acclaimed
At 27, MacDonald, Bill Salter and William Eaton started their own
publishing company, Antisia Music. Everyone told him he was crazy, but
Ralph was determined to do it on his own. The partners opened a modest
office in New York City and kept the door locked. When asked why,
MacDonald explained that it was a publishing company, and that songs
were meant to go out the door, not in. He gave himself two years to get
the company going.
One year and eleven months later and wondering if Antisia Music would
survive, Ralph happened to begin working with Roberta Flack. He and
Salter had written a song called "Where Is The Love," and in a studio
session, he pitched it to Roberta. She recorded it, and it went on to
sell 10 million copies, earning Roberta and Donnie Hathaway Grammys and
firmly establishing Antisia Music.
>From there the success kept on coming. Ralph began recording with
legends like James Taylor, Billy Joel, Bette Midler, Diana Ross and Paul
Simon. He and his partners wrote the Grover Washington Jr. hit "Mr.
Magic" and Antisia Music placed a song called "Calypso Breakdown" on the
BeeGees 'Saturday Night Fever' soundtrack. That album went on to sell 47
million copies and earned MacDonald two Grammys of his own, as a
performer and a producer. Riding high on the disco craze, Ralph released
two albums of his own, gaining commercial success and international
In 1980, Ralph wrote and produced Grover Washington Jr.'s classic album
"Winelight." Among the MacDonald compositions were hits like
"Winelight," "In The Name Of Love," and a song destined to become an
American standard: "Just The Two Of Us." That song alone has been
recorded by hundreds of artists worldwide, including Will Smith's 1999
adaptation of the song.
Today MacDonald still spends his time writing and recording for Antisia
Publishing when he's not out on the road touring with Jimmy Buffett and
the Coral Reefer Band. He also continues to release new albums of
smooth, percussive jazz and pop. Now firmly established as a successful
songwriter, a legendary percussion player, and an international star, it
would seem that the kid from Harlem who dreamed of nothing more than
achieving what his father had has succeeded in a big way.
earthjuice at prodigy.net
bobdavis at radioio.com
<a href="http://bit.ly/68fmMf" <http://bit.ly/68fmMf%22>> Co-Founder
<a href="http://bit.ly/1fn5cW" <http://bit.ly/1fn5cW%22>> Blues, Hip Hop
and Soul Music Director
On 12/19/11 11:54 AM, "Lois Gilbert" <jazz at jazzcorner.com> wrote:
>I don't recall see a thread on Ralph's passing. Man, he was the best -
>percussionist, composer and producer, and I might add avid boxing fan. He
>taught me to love boxing.
>On Mon, Dec 19, 2011 at 11:48 AM, Bradley Stone
><stonebradley1 at gmail.com>wrote:
>> Aloha, all,
>> Deeply saddened to hear of Bob's passing - one of our great composers
>> arrangers - I always enjoyed bringing a new Brookmeyer chart to my radio
>> audience. He truly deserved "wider recognition".
>> A light is on,
>> On Sat, Dec 17, 2011 at 3:42 PM, Tom Reney <tr at wfcr.org> wrote:
>> > Doug Ramsey's Rifftides blog on his late friend quotes Brookmeyer
>> > admitting that some of the music he made during a difficult period in
>> > life "could make your teeth hurt."
>> > And only a few weeks ago, a friend who played on Woody Herman's band
>> > recalled a concert of Brookmeyer's music at Monterey that sent the
>> > running for the exits. But when music of this type is considered in
>> > context of Brookmeyer's overall output, much of which is celebratory,
>> > swinging and thoughtful, I can only conclude that he was emotionally
>> > in his art.
>> > This morning I'm digging his 1997 Challenge recording New
>> > Works/Celebration, a piece he composed for a concert with Gerry
>> > 1994 and here features the amazing Scott Robinson on baritone.
>> > Tom
>> > On 12/17/2011 7:38 AM, DPolletta at aol.com wrote:
>> >> In a message dated 12/16/2011 11:00:34 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
>> >> jstein at berklee.edu writes:
>> >> Friends,
>> >> Many fitting tributes to Bob Brookmeyer as an arranger. I know him
>> >> as
>> >> a wonderful instrumentalist and have spent many hours listening to
>> >> improvising jazz on his horn.
>> >> He played on many recordings. Here's one I love that flies under the
>> >> radar
>> >> a little bit: Night Lights, by Gerry Mulligan. Bob is a sideman,
>> >> with Art Farmer, Jim Hall, Bill Crow, and Donald Bailey. It is very
>> >> mainstream, not innovative or ground-breaking, and mostly mellow.
>> >> what tasteful,
>> >> impeccable, lyrical playing by every musician on the date!>
>> >> ""Night Lights" is a wonderful date. Lonehill reissued it, IIRC in a
>> >> disc
>> >> called The Complete Gerry Mulligan Sextet." They also did one of for
>> >> Mulligan/Brookmeyer Quartet...as well as collecting the session he
>> >> with
>> >> Clark Terry.
>> >> Love Bob's playing on "Jazz Reunion" with Pee Wee Russell and Coleman
>> >> Hawkins...and a great 3 cd box Mosaic did features "Traditionalism
>> >> Revisted," w/
>> >> Jim Hall and Jimmy Giuffre, "the Street Swingers" with Hall and
>> >> Raney...and a couple of slightly larger groups that remind us, that
>> >> all of
>> >> his great big band writing in his later years, which often took on a
>> >> of pastel, floating character, this was a guy who loved to swing KC
>> >> style.
>> >> Thanks for all the good sides Bob!
>> >> Dan Polletta
>> >> WCPN-FM
>> >> ideastream
>> >> --
>> >> Jazz Programmers' Mailing List: jazzproglist at jazzweek.com
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>> > --
>> > Tom Reney
>> > Jazz à la Mode
>> > Monday-Friday 8-11 p.m.
>> > WFCR
>> > New England Public Radio
>> > 131 County Circle
>> > Amherst, MA 01003
>> > tr at nepr.net
>> > www.nepr.net
>> > --
>> > Jazz Programmers' Mailing List: jazzproglist at jazzweek.com
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>> Dr. Brad Stone
>> Music Director (Jazz, World, Blues) and Faculty Advisor
>> San Jose State University
>> San Jose, CA 95192-0094
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