Ralph MacDonald (b. 1944): master percussionist dies Sunday morning, December 18, 2011

Ralph MacDonald on right

Buddy Williams, Hagi and Ralph MacDonald in the embrace of Ralph's son Atiba

Ralph MacDonald has passed on. I’m passing on the news I heard today from my good friend Takashi “Hagi” Hagiwara as I awakened, groggy and reflecting on a great concert, small soft-seater, last night. Curious that it was an occasion on which I played more bare hands on drumset than ever before. We will always remember Ralph MacDonald for his laying of hands, wherein he spoke warmly and touched us deeply. Would that I ever sniff the oxygen Ralph MacDonald breathed. What a benchmark to which we all might aspire! I’d met him a few times but wasn’t among the fortunate who were his friends. I was fortunate, however, to feel his spirit through his music. Peace to his friends and his family. It’s not for the likes of me to say more.

But Hagi knew him well. Here is a portion of his tribute to Ralph MacDonald sent to friends. I’ve tweaked a couple of words, knowing Hagi as I do, to better reflect his intent; that it might survive the translation and reach out.

My most intimate friend Ralph passed today

Ralph was a musician more peaceful than any in the world

Ralph was the same age as me

I would like to carry on in his spirit and according to his words

Ralph’s music draws a picture

Of that special world in which he lives

The artist is no longer,

But the music is eternal and the picture vivid

(Takashi “Hagi” Hagiwara, Sunday December 18, 2011)

Thank you Hagi for informing me and all your friends. You always talked about Ralph as a positive force, a good soul, and a great friend. I wish his family and friends…and I am not among that fortunate group…peace. Tbw

Thanks Will for your customary warmth and assistance. Visit his site, right now! Will was tight with Ralph, of course.