Larry McDonald (percussionist)

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Larry McDonald
Larry McDonald (percussionist).jpg
Background information
Birth nameLawrence McDonald
Born (1937-06-11) June 11, 1937 (age 82)[1]
OriginPort Maria, Jamaica
GenresReggae, ska, rocksteady
Years active1987–present
Associated actsGil Scott Heron, The Rocksteady Seven, Toots and the Maytals, The Skatalites Taj Mahal

Larry McDonald is a Jamaican percussionist.[2][3] He was born in Port Maria, Jamaica in 1937. McDonald played congas with Carlos Malcolm's band, Toots and the Maytals and the Count Ossie Band. He plays a wide variety of traditional percussion instruments.[4]


McDonald has a nearly 50-year history of recording and performing with a wide variety of artists,[5] such as Gil Scott-Heron,[6][7] and Taj Mahal (musician).[8][9]

In 2009, McDonald released his first solo album[10] "Drumquestra," which features many of his former collaborators, including Sly Dunbar,[5] Uziah Thompson of Bob Marley and the Wailers and the former Count Ossie drummers known as the "Mystic Revelation Of Rastafari."[11] in an orchestra of drummers.

Drumquestra also featured former frontmen from bands Larry performed and recorded with,[5] including Toots Hibbert, Bob Andy, Mutabaruka, Stranger Cole and Dollarman. The album was recorded at a live session at Harry J Studios in Kingston Jamaica by Steel Pulse producer Sidney Mills for Malik Al Nasir's MCPR label in the UAE, who released the album in 2009. MCRP also released two singles off the album the same year, "Head Over Heels" Featuring Dollarman and Sly Dunbar and "Set The Children Free" Featuring Toots Hibbert, the latter of which was subsequently re-mixed for dance-floors by Lenny B.

Shortly after the album was released, Larry was honoured [12] in July 2011, at the 14th annual 'Tributes to the Greats' [13] award ceremony in Jamaica, with a lifetime achievement award for his 50-year contribution to Jamaican music.

On Friday 22 March 2013 Larry performed at the United Nations General Assembly with Steel Pulse as part of the UNESCO's International Slavery Remembrance Day event.[citation needed]

Selected Discography[edit]


Solo singles[edit]

Year Promo CD Single Label Artist
2009 Head Over Heels (Cat No. CPLM301) MCPR Music Larry McDonald Ft. Dollarman

Collaboration singles[edit]

Year 7" Single Label Artist
1972 African Home (Cat No. DHM 7240-1) Afro Larry McDonald & Bongo Herman


  • "Set the Children Free" (various versions, 2009)

Solo albums[edit]

Year Album Label Artist
2009 Drumquestra (Cat No. CPLM301) MCPR Music Larry McDonald

Album credits[edit]


  1. ^ 100dBs (10 June 2017). "Larry McDonald, the Living Legend". Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  2. ^ The Beat. Bongo Productions. 2006.
  3. ^ Metting, Fred (January 2001). The Unbroken Circle: Tradition and Innovation in the Music of Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-3818-5.
  4. ^ "Steel Pulse Reverberates Positivity on the Shores of the Hudson". Jamaica Gleaner, 22 July 2008
  5. ^ a b c Coleman, Nick (31 May 2009). "'Album Review: Larry McDonald, Drumquestra'". The Independent. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  6. ^ Baram, Marcus (11 November 2014). Gil Scott-Heron: Pieces of a Man. St. Martin's Press. pp. 201–. ISBN 978-1-250-01279-1.
  7. ^ Vibe Media Group (February 2002). Vibe. Vibe Media Group. pp. 56–. ISSN 1070-4701.
  8. ^ Walker, Klive (2005). Dubwise. Insomniac Press. pp. 147–. ISBN 978-1-897414-60-6.
  9. ^ Fuse. Arton's Cultural Affairs Society and Pub. 1983.
  10. ^ Selassie, Habte (9 April 2009). "McDonald leads the beat on 'Drumquestra'". The Gleaner. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  11. ^ Poet, J. "Larry McDonald Finally Steals The Spotlight". Drum! Magazine.
  12. ^ Campbell, Howard (3 July 2011). "'Veteran Percussionist To Be Honoured'". The Gleaner. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  13. ^ Walters, Basil (5 August 2011). "Tributes to the Greats". Jamaican Observer. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  14. ^ Music, All (2009). "Larry McDonald Credits". Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  15. ^ High Fidelity. ABC Leisure Magazines. 1976.
  16. ^
  17. ^ Walker, Klive (2005). Dubwise. Insomniac Press. pp. 150–. ISBN 978-1-897414-60-6.
  18. ^ Vladimir Bogdanov; Chris Woodstra; Stephen Thomas Erlewine (2002). All Music Guide to Jazz: The Definitive Guide to Jazz Music. Backbeat Books. pp. 35–. ISBN 978-0-87930-717-2.