|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (July 2012)|
|Birth name||Bernard Alexander|
|Also known as||Skip McDonald|
|Born||1949 (age 63–64)
|Genres||R&B, blues, gospel, dub, jazz, doo-wop, rap|
Musical string arranger
|Years active||1973 - present|
|Labels||Sugar Hill, Wired, Real World, Fat Possum, Okeh|
|Associated acts||Tackhead, Adrian Sherwood, Bernard Fowler, Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five|
Little Axe is the stage name of Skip McDonald (born Bernard Alexander, 1949, Dayton, Ohio) an American musician. McDonald played jazz, doo-wop, and gospel when young, and relocated to New York City as a teenager with his band of friends, called The Entertainers.
Axe joined the group Wood Brass & Steel in 1973 with bass guitarist Doug Wimbish and drummer Harold Sargent. The group recorded two albums before their 1979 breakup. Axe then became one of the members of the house band for Sugarhill Records and appeared as a session player on many early rap albums, one of which was The Message by Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five.
Change of sound
After leaving Sugarhill, McDonald, Wimbish, and drummer Keith LeBlanc began working with Adrian Sherwood, and eventually formed the trio into the group Tackhead, initially fronted by Gary Clail, but later, vocalist Bernard Fowler.
It was not until the 1990s, McDonald assumed the moniker "Little Axe" as he began moving from a hip hop sound to music drawing from an array of musical influences. Blending genres including such diverse musical influences as R&B, gospel, Dub music, and jazz has led some music reviewers to describe his overall sound as that of World music. However, it was the sound of the blues that is most woven throughout his music since the early 1990s. He has been working steadily as a studio musician, recording both his own blues albums, continuing to appear as a guest act on other artists' albums as well. His most recent albums have been released on Real World Records. Alan Glen is featured on harmonica on the albums.
- The Wolf that House Built (Okeh/Epic, 1994)
- Slow Fuse (Wired Records, 1996)
- Hard Grind (Fat Possum, 2002)
- Champagne & Grits (Real World, 2004)
- Stone Cold Ohio (Real World, 2006)
- Bought For A Dollar, Sold For A Dime (Real World, 2010)
- If You Want Loyalty Buy A Dog (2011)
- Return (2013)
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