trombonist, music director, and tuba player from North Carolina who studied
music at Stetson University in Florida and Catholic University in Washington,
D.C. before embarking on a 35-year career as a session musician in Los
As you can
imagine, that led to quite a bit of film work: Donald Waldrop’s brass stylings can be heard on the soundtracks of Ghost, One from the Heart, nearly all of the Rocky films, Star
Trek: The Motion Picture, The Sting, and True Lies.
He was equally
busy in the television industry, appearing on The Carol Burnett Show and contributing to the scores of Deep Space Nine, Matlock, Murder, She Wrote, The Simpsons, Star Trek: The Next
Generation, and Star Trek: Voyager.
In the 1960s
and beyond, Donald seemingly spent every spare minute in the recording
studio. He appeared on A.B. Skhy’s eponymous debut in 1969 and pretty much
never stopped working. It’s
a Beautiful Day used him on their 1973 release, It’s a Beautiful Day… Today.
A year later,
Donald dusted off his classical chops in concert with the Pacifica Brass
Quintet as part of the South Bay Chamber Music Society, Inc.’s series
of public performances. Their
program comprised music ranging from Baroque composers such as Johann
Sebastian Bach and Samuel Scheidt to modern
mavericks like Paul Hindemith and Igor Stravinsky.
Donald appeared on Frank Sinatra’s Trilogy.
this for doing a 180? He opened
the decade of the ‘80s by appearing on a pair of Tom Waits albums,
the aforementioned One from the Heart
(with Crystal Gayle) and Swordfishtrombones.
1984 was not
Orwellian for Donald: He
returned to the South Bay Chamber Music Society, as a member of The Modern
Brass Quintet, to perform another concert spanning the centuries: Again, Baroque and 20th-century
music were on the menu, including Giles Farnaby’s
“Fancies, Toyes, and Dreames”
and Leonard Bernstein’s overture to Candide.
He also served
as the music supervisor on the public-service documentary, Strong Kids, Safe Kids. Kids of all ages can enjoy his
arrangement of Peter and the Wolf,
which was performed by the Sonus Brass
As the CD era
ensued, more and more of Donald’s music, past and present,
surfaced. Some examples of his
handiwork can be heard on 1991’s Stan
Kenton 50th Anniversary Celebration: The Best of “Back to
Balboa”, 1998’s Brazilian
Horizons, Vol. 1, and the 2001 retrospective, Q: The Musical
Biography of Quincy Jones.
in 2002 and lives in Florida.