News, News and Events

Legendary Percussionist Ralph MacDonald Passes

Ralph MacDonald, a Grammy-winning writer, producer, and percussionist who worked with an enormous number of top musicians over a fifty-year career, passed away on Sunday, December 18, from complications stemming from a stroke he suffered several months ago. MacDonald, who also battled lung cancer late in his life, was sixty-seven years old.

In addition to being one of the finest percussionists in the world, MacDonald was a successful producer and songwriter. Among his most famous songs are the 1972 Roberta Flack/Donny Hathaway hit “Where is the Love” and the 1980 Bill Withers/Grover Washington vehicle “Just the Two of Us.” MacDonald also recorded several solo albums.

This year the town of Stamford, Connecticut, where Ralph lived for the past thirty-five years, honored him by proclaiming July 27 Ralph MacDonald Day. Until his health issues made it impossible to travel, Ralph toured regularly as a member of Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band.

MacDonald is survived by his wife, Grace, and four children, Nefra-Ann, Atiba, Anthony, and Giovanni. The staff of Modern Drummer sends its condolences to MacDonald’s family and friends.

Watch MD’s 2008 video interview with Ralph here.


Posted in News, News and Events Tagged Ashford & Simpson, Bill Withers/Grover Washington, Chris Parker, Legendary Percussionist Ralph MacDonald Passes, Roberta Flack/Donny Hathaway, Steve Gadd, Tom Scott, Will Lee

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