Don Alias

Don Alias, born Charles Donald Alias on December 25, 1939, in Harlem, New York City, New York, was an American jazz percussionist and drummer, best known for his recording work on Bitches Brew and the Jaco Pastorius self-titled album.

Don first started playing percussion as a child in Harlem and began his music career in his late twenties, steeped in the Afro-Cuban scene.

Don received his education in Boston where he spent many nights in the dorms at Berklee School of Music, jamming with the likes of drummer Tony Williams and pianist Chick Corea. This group of musicians would eventually became part of a band called Los Muchachos, along with bassist Gene Perla who became his life long partner.

In the 70's and 80's he worked with an array of legendary musicians including Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Nina Simone, Herbie Hancock, Pat Matheny, Lou Rawls, Mongo Santamaria, Roberta Flack, Chick Corea, Joni Mitchell, Chuck Mangione, David Sanborn, Elvin Jones, Jaco Pastorious, Blood, Sweat & Tears, and countless others. His first venture leading a band came with the creation of his group, Stone Alliance, that included saxophonist Steve Grossman and bassist Gene Perla.

"What possess someone to play the conga drum, to beat on a drum with your hands? It's a strange instrument I'll say, and in some ways really masochistic to play them. Listen to your heartbeat, it is like a drum, and you cannot live without your heart." — Don Alias

Exuding a musical spirit that leaped off the stage, Don Alias had a sensitivity to other musicians, especially other percussionists, which made Don very popular among his peers.

Don Alias died in his home at 340 East 90th Street, New York City, NY on March 29, 2006.