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Donald Bailey

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A valuable drummer and an occasional harmonica player, Donald "Duck" Bailey has appeared on a countless number of sessions through the years, usually as a sideman. Bailey freelanced in his hometown of Philadelphia and then gained some fame as Jimmy Smith's regular drummer during the organist's early prime years (1956-1964), appearing on many of his Blue Note albums. He worked in Los Angeles from the mid-'60s to the mid-'70s, spent five years in Japan (during which time he led a record session for Trio which found him sticking to harmonica) and then, after returning to the U.S. in 1982, settled in Oakland. Among the many artists Bailey has worked with through the years are Hampton Hawes, Blue Mitchell, Jimmie Rowles, Carmen McRae, and Sarah Vaughan. ~ Scott Yanow

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Birth Name:

Donald Orlando Bailey


26 March 1934 in Philadelphia, PA

Years Active:

'60s, '70s, '80s