World-class conguero, salsero, drummer and percussionist extraordinaire, Charles Donald Alias was born on Christmas Day, 1939though obviously the music world had yet to know the gift it had received.
With a half century and most of his life spent in music, Alias not only performed across a profound cross-section of modern music but was a catalyst in its forging. It's a deep honor that's tempered with great sadness to share this loss and to be responsible for Alias' last interview.
There are few things anyone could say that could match or mirror what only those who knew him best could express. So here then are the words of his peers to tell the story of this great talent who touched so many of us more profoundly than we know.
I love jazz because it is in my blood. It is the only original American art form. It is sacred. The greatest musicians are jazz artists.
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 listening to my father's records of Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Count Basie, Nat King Cole, Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young.
I met Sonny Stitt, Wayne Shorter, Branford Marsalis, Joey Calderazzo, Michael Brecker, Cannonball Adderley, Walter Booker, Dave Liebman, Joe Lovano, George Benson, Mike
Stern, Stanley Turrentine, Billy Harper, Skip Hadden, Charlie Haden.
The best show I ever attended was Joe Lovano with Soundprints at the Wexner Center in Columbus Ohio in 2014.
The first jazz record I bought was Miles Smiles.