Frank Donaldson, percussion – is a leading exponent of funk, fusion and jazz drumming, as well as an accomplished bandleader. Mr. Donaldson began studying piano at age seven and switched to drums at age nine. He turned professional at age fifteen. He was a member of Archie Bell and the Drells who had the number 1 Billboard hit The Tighten Up. In 1969 Mr. Donaldson entered North Park College where he studied with Don Koss of the Chicago Symphony.
Throughout the 1970’s Frank Donaldson continued to expand his playing talents and musical options. He enrolled at the American Conservatory of Music in 1971, where he studied under James Dutton. Mr. Donaldson was the percussion soloist with the North Shore Philharmonic Orchestra, which gave more than thirty-eight performances of Milhaud’s Concerto for Percussion.
Mr. Donaldson was the drummer with the Ramsey Lewis Trio for eleven years recording four albums on Columbia Records including a recording with the London Symphony Orchestra. He toured world-wide at auditoriums, festivals and symphony orchestras including the American Symphony Orchestra in New York. He is currently on the faculty of Columbia College and tours with his own jazz ensemble as well as the Chicago Jazz Ensemble. He has also toured and/or recorded with Curtis Mayfield, Angela Bofil, Ray Charles, George Shearing, Bill Withers, Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Turentine, Roy Ayers, Noel Pointer, Patty Austin, Carmen Mac Crae and others.
In his 15th year with Chamber Blues, Mr. Donaldson’s percussion work is described as “deliciously original,” by the Denver Post.