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Update: This show has been canceled. When he started out 60 years ago, nobody sounded like Lou Donaldson. Before long, everyone wanted to. The alto saxophonist has a distinctive, salt-and-vinegar sound and unshakeable dedication to the blues. It naturally builds into a gritty, earthy approach to jazz that was already the new direction for the music in the 1950s, and Donaldson quickly became a major player whose sound embodied the hard-bop movement and helped pave the way for the soul-jazz of the ’60s. He even managed to score a couple of bona fide jukebox hits, “Blues Walk” and “Alligator Boogaloo,” with the stomping, accessible groove he perfected. Having played a role in inventing that style, Donaldson never abandoned it, and today at 85 manages to make it sound as fresh and inviting as ever.
The Lou Donaldson Quartet performs at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. $27.50. bluesalley.com. (202) 337-4141.