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     MacDonald, Ralph (15th March 1944-Present)

    He is a percussionist, producer and songwriter born in Harlem, New York, to a father who was the Calypso musician "Macbeth the Great".  After helping his friend carry his steel drums, and attending Harry Belafonte's Steel Band rehearsals regularly with him, he managed to get a job there and performed with Harry Belafonte for the next 10 years.  During this time he met up with Bill Salter and they began to collaborate as songwriters, which would result in Harry Belafonte's 1966 album Calypso Carnival.  In 1971/2 he opened his own publishing house, Antisia Music, with Bill Salter and William Eaton and the following year his song "Where is the Love" was recorded by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway and success was achieved when it won Grammy Awards and sold an estimated 10 million copies.  Further Grammys would come along, this time for him as a producer and performer on the song "Calypso Breakdown" which was part of the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack and also as a performer on "Mockingbird" by Carly Simon & James Taylor, "Just the Way You Are" by Billy Joel, "Killing Me Softly" by Roberta Flack, "Mirror, Mirror" by Diana Ross, "Do You Want To Dance" by Bette Midler, "Breezin'" by George Benson, "Tradewinds" by The Winans and the theme for the TV sitcom Taxi.  His other songwriting achievements include the hit "Mr. Magic" and the album Winelight recorded by Grover Washington Jr. which saw him gain ever further success with the smash hit "Just the Two Of Us".  At the same time he released his own solo albums, which would also get him internationally recognised and gain critical acclaim.  1979-1988 saw his being recognised annually as the NARAS presented him with the award for "Most Valuable Player of the Year" for percussion every year consecutively for a decade.  He became a member of Jimmy Buffett's Coral Reefer Band around 1986 and continues to tour and record with them besides still recording and writing for Antisia Publishing and through his many years of performing he has worked with numerous artists that include the Average White Band, The Bar-Kays, George Benson, David Bowie, The Brecker Brothers, Ron Carter, Jackie DeShannon, Maynard Ferguson, David Grusin, Joe Henderson, Bob James, Billy Joel, Quincy Jones, Earl Klugh, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Chuck Mangione, Don McLean, Bette Midler, The Neville Brothers, Teddy Pendergrass, John Prine, Bonnie Raitt, Lou Rawls, Martha Reeves, Diana Ross, David Sanborn, Tom Scott, Paul Simon, Frank Sinatra, Phoebe Snow and James Taylor.  The countless albums he has appeared on, which are far too many to mention, include his own The Path, Trippin', Just the Two of Us and Mixty Emotions among others and also Anthology Vol. 2 by Duane Allman, Other Peoples Rooms by Marc Almond, Solid by Ashford & Simpson, Every Home Should Have One by Patti Austin, Futures by Burt Bacharach, Caliente! By Gato Barbieri, Living Eyes by the Bee Gees, Queen of the Night by Maggie Bell, Breezin' by George Benson, Changes by David Bowie, Right on Time by Brothers Johnson, Hell by James Brown, Floridays by Jimmy Buffett, Lovelines by The Carpenters, Judith by Judy Collins, Everything Must Change by Randy Crawford, Free as the Wind by The Crusaders, In the Right Place by Dr. John, I Don't Know How to Love Him by Yvonne Elliman, Feel Like Makin' Love by Roberta Flack, Let Me In Your Life by Aretha Franklin, Soul Searchin' by Glenn Frey, Watermark by Art Garfunkel, Abandoned Luncheonette by Hall & Oates, Nature's Baby by Lena Horne, Glow by Al Jarreau, An Innocent Man by Billy Joel, Sounds...and Stuff Like That by Quincy Jones, Thoroughbred by Carole King, Valotte by Julian Lennon, Celebrate Me Home by Kenny Loggins, Taj by Taj Mahal, Coming Out by Manhattan Transfer, Brazil: Once Again by Herbie Mann, Playin' Favourites by Don McLean, Divine Collection by Bette Midler, Power of Soul by Idris Muhammed, What a Difference a Day Makes by Esther Philips, Island of Real by The Rascals, Straight to the Heart by David Sanborn, Towering Toccata by Lalo Schifrin, Hotcakes by Carly Simon, Still Crazy After All These Years by Paul Simon, L.A. is My Lady by Frank Sinatra, Gaucho by Steely Dan, Walking Man by James Taylor, For Ever, For Always, For Love by Luther Vandross, Menagerie by Bill Withers and literally hundreds of others.  

     

    Sources:

    1. http://www.ralphmacdonald.com/biography.htm
    2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralph_MacDonald
    3. http://www.margaritaville.com/index.php?page=macdonald
    4. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1720443/
    5. http://www.answers.com/topic/ralph-macdonald-1?cat=entertainment
    6. http://www.congahead.com/On_The_Scene/macdonald_metrocafe/index.html
    7. http://www.ralphmacdonald.com/disco_others.htm

     

    Here his performing percussion and congas with Grover Washington Jr. on his own "Just the Two of Us"...

     

     

     

     

     

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