“It’s really all the same. Some people used to say to me, ‘How can you do FOREIGNER after you’ve been in KING CRIMSON?’ But it doesn’t make any difference to me. I just apply myself to whatever the situation or the environment calls for,” Ian McDonald, who passed away at the age of 75 on February 9th, said to me a few years ago. One of the quietest, if well-heard, architects of clever rock, what would be called progressive later, he was lucky to have played in – or, rather, instrumental in creating of – not one but two legendary ensembles, and performed on many a prominent record, yet never thought of himself as a trailblazer in the pop-reeds department.
“I’m certainly not a sax player but I did study the flute in recent years. I went to a classical flute teacher, and for a while I was concentrating on that because I wanted to improve my playing and my two-tone,” stated Ian, despite his melodious lines shining on the likes of “Long, Long Way from Home” and “I Talk To The Wind” and his talent as a composer blinding on "In The Court Of The Crimson King" that McDonald co-wrote. The veteran’s solo career didn’t bring him a lot of success, the acclaim for the “McDonald and Giles” collaboration notwithstanding, although 1990’s “Drivers Eyes” with many guests, was brilliant, and HONEY WEST’s "Bad Old World" that he co-fronted was impressive, too. Sadly, this work proved to be the artist’s last. Stricken with cancer, he quietly bowed out to be sorely missed.