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Percussionist and Sideman Don Alias Dies at 66

Percussionist Don Alias died suddenly March 28 at the age of 66. One of the best sidemen in jazz, Alias worked with musicians including Miles Davis, Chick Corea and Joni Mitchell throughout his illustrious career, though most of it was spent alongside bassist Gene Perla. The two were working on a joint memoir at the time of Alias’ death.

Alias was born to Caribbean immigrants in Harlem, New York, on Christmas Day, 1939. He learned much of his unique drumming styles on the streets of New York. By the time Alias was in high school, he was performing with the Eartha Kitt dance troupe and the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band. After graduating from Gannon College, Alias went on to study at Boston’s Carnegie Institute for Biochemistry where he befriended musicians at Berklee.

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