Donald Bailey (musician)

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Donald "Duck" Bailey Sr
Birth name Donald Orlando Bailey, Sr.
Born (1933-03-26)March 26, 1933
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died October 15, 2013(2013-10-15) (aged 80)
Montclair, California, U.S.
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Drums, harmonica,trombone
Labels Blue Note
Associated acts Jimmy Smith
Hampton Hawes
Blue Mitchell
Jimmie Rowles
Carmen McRae
Sarah Vaughan

Donald Orlando "Duck" Bailey (March 26, 1933 – October 15, 2013) was an American jazz drummer.[1][2]

Biography[edit]

Donald Bailey, Sr., known to many in the jazz world as "Duck", was born in Philadelphia into a musical family. Bailey was a constant student and disciple of the jazz genre. Unbeknownst to his brothers and sisters, Bailey's father, Morris Bailey, Sr., was also a drummer. Donald's brother, Morris Bailey, Jr., is also an arranger, composer, producer and saxophonist and Bailey's nephew is the bassist Victor Bailey, best known for his work with the group Weather Report.

Bailey got his big break in the jazz world and he is probably best known as the drummer in the trio of jazz organist Jimmy Smith from 1956 to 1964 and also for his work with The Three Sounds on Blue Note Records.[3] Bailey also worked as a sideman for some of the most famous musicians in jazz including Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae, Hampton Hawes, Sonny Rollins, Freddie Hubbard, and Red Mitchell. He also played with John Coltrane in their early Philadelphia years. Bailey is also known as "The King of Organ Trio Drummers". In the mid 70s, he moved to Japan where he lived for six years and in 1978, released an album called "So in Love" (Trio Records) which featured Hideo Ichikawa (piano), Hideyuki Kikuchi, Yoshio Ikeda (bass), Takaaki Nishikawa, Toshihiko Ogawa. This jazz album, featuring Bailey playing harmonica, received rave reviews and is a sought after jazz collectible. His last project "Blueprints of Jazz Vol.3 featuring Donald Bailey" which featured Charles Tolliver (trumpet), George Burton (piano), and Odean Pope (tenor, tenor saxophone) was issued on the Talking House record label in 2009.

Bailey performed around the San Francisco Bay Area[4] in the United States until his late 70s and moved to Montclair, California shortly before his death at age 80 in October 2013.[5]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Donald Bailey Blueprints of Jazz – Vol.3 (Talking House, 2009)

Produced by Marc Weibel, Stephen Smith

Featuring: Donald Bailey (harmonica, drums), Charles Tolliver (trumpet), George Burton (piano), Odean Pope (tenor, tenor saxophone)

  • Plant Life (Composer Odean Pope)
  • Blues It (Composer Hasaan Ibn Ali)
  • Gone Now (Composer Tyrone Brown)
  • Variations (Composer Morris Bailey, Jr)
  • Fifth House (Composer Odean Pope)
  • For All We Know (Composer J. Fred Coots / Sam M. Lewis)
  • Family Portrait (Composer Odean Pope)
  • U.S.O. Triology (Composer Odean Pope/Tyrone Brown)
  • Blue Gardenia (Composer Lester Lee / Robert Russell)


Trio – (Capri Records, 1990)

Produced by Thomas C. Burns

Featuring: Donald Bailey (drums), Red Mitchell (bass), Jimmy Rowles (piano)

  • Have You Met Miss Jones?
  • Day Dream
  • After School
  • You People Need Music
  • Crazy He Calls Me
  • Yes Sir, That's My Baby
  • Dreamer's Lullaby
  • Life's A Take
  • My One And Only Love
  • My Silent Love
  • What Are We Here For?


So In Love (Trio Records, Recorded in Japan 1978)

Featuring: Donald Bailey (harmonica, drums), Hideo Ichikawa (piano), Hideyuki Kikuchi, Yoshio Ikeda (bass), Takaaki Nishikawa, Toshihiko Ogawa

  • So in Love
  • Alone Together
  • Half Nelson
  • The Lady Is A Tramp
  • St. Louis Blues
  • Invitation


The Three Sounds: Live at the Lighthouse (Blue Note Records, July 1967)

Produced by Dick Bock

Featuring: Gene Harris (piano, organ), Andrew Simpkins (bass), Donald Bailey (drums)

  • Still I'm Sad" (Jim McCarty, Paul Samwell-Smith)
  • Crying Time" (Buck Owens)
  • June Night (Just Give Me a June Night, the Moonlight and You)" (Abel Baer, Cliff Friend)
  • I Thought About You" (Johnny Mercer, Jimmy Van Heusen)
  • I Held My Head in Shame (Gene Harris)
  • Summertime (George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, DuBose Heyward)
  • Makin' Bread Again (Gene Harris)
  • Here's That Rainy Day" (Johnny Burke, Van Heusen)
  • Blues March" (Benny Golson)
  • Takin' It Easy (Gene Harris)
  • Drown in My Own Tears (Henry Glover)
  • Why (Am I Treated So Bad) (Roebuck Staples)
  • Never Say Yes (Nat Adderley)
  • River Shallow (André Previn, Dory Previn)
  • Sunny (Bobby Hebb)
  • Bad, Bad Whiskey (Maxwell Davis, Amos Milburn)
  • C Jam Blues" (Barney Bigard, Duke Ellington)

As sideman[edit]

With George Braith

With Harold Land

With Jimmy Smith

With The Three Sounds

With Jack Wilson

Also performed on projects with (as referenced in Drummerworld.com)

References[edit]

External links[edit]