Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Alberts, Don (Donald Wayne)

Alberts, Don (Donald Wayne), piano; b. San Pedro, CA, 2 October 1932. His father is George William Alberts, b. Honolulu, Hawaii. Chief Engineer aboard the Merchant ship "Point Lobos" working for the shipping company, Swain and Hoyt, located in San Francisco. George was one of seven children and the only son of immigrant parents John Jacob Karl Alberts of Aschaffenburg, Bavaria and Maria Antoinette Da Costa, of San Miguel Island, Azores, Portugal, who settled in the Hawaiian Islands on the Island on Oahu. His mother is Lora Edith Waters, b. 1897 Hollister, California, the eldest of four children including twin sisters and a younger brother. Grand-Father, Harry Waters (Huyck), was a descendant of Dutchman, Jan Huyck, who was secretary of State in 1624 to first Governor of New York, Peter Minuit who purchased Manhattan Island from the Manhattes Indians for sixty guilders ($24) and named it New Amsterdam. Grandmother, Mariamne Waters (Lawn), was descendant of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and the 1620 English Twitchells.

Don is the youngest of three children, Mariam, Ilene Alberts (Wier) the eldest, and Robert Harry Alberts, the middle child. The family moved to San Jose when Don was very young. Shortly thereafter, father, George Alberts was mysteriously murdered in his cabin aboard his ship, "The Point Lobos" while docked at Encinal Harbor in Alameda, California. The year was 1936. Young Don was three. It was a great loss for the family. His mother, Lora eventually remarried in 1942 and Don grew up with his stepfather, Rex Summer. Rex moved the family to Richmond, California, in the mid-forties and Rex worked as a welder at the Kaiser Shipyards during the war.

Don attended Richmond High school and graduated from Oakland Tech. in 1950. He served three years in the Navy at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. After the Navy he returned home and took a job as draftsman and played music at night around San Jose.

Beginning piano at the age of ten, his earliest influence was the Boogie Woogie style of Mary Lou Williams. He eventually heard all the great players and pursued the music of his favorites; Teddy Wilson, Earl Hines, Errol Garner, George Shering, Nat Cole, Oscar Peterson, Bud Powell, Hampton Hawes, Red Garland, McCoy Tyner, Chic Corea, and most recently the music of Mulgrew Miller

Alberts has had playing associations with players like Leroy Vinnegar, Chet Baker, Shorty Rogers and Bud Shank, recordings with bassist David Friesen, and a period as house pianist at the famous "Bop City" in San Francisco during the height of the 1960's creative music period. In the period of the 1960's Alberts wrote music for the crossover band "Flower" of which he was a member, contributing his compositions; "The Lizard," "Waltz Ingenue,"and "Cerabella,"and also wrote compositions for the John Handy "Freedom Band." Alberts also wrote for and played with the Virgil Gonsalves Group.

Don has appeared in many jazz venues and major festivals throughout the Northwest and Canada including the prestigious Mount Hood Festival Of Jazz, a national artist's venue. While spending a long residence in Portland Oregon he published the Portland Jazz Calendar for the years 1990 and 1991, a work which documented the important Jazz players and vocalists of the Portland area with full page pictures and bios, an idea encouraged by the legendary bassist Leroy Vinnegar.

Don was married on March 5,1956 wife, Juliette (Gerrard), b. August 4, 1938.
Two children. Son, Dana Claire Alberts, b. October 31, 1956, Daughter, Alanna Jean Alberts (Wiitala) b. April 11, 1962. Resides in San Francisco Bay Area. Don and Juliette were divorced in 1968 and Don went to Portland, Oregon to try his luck with music. He was successful. During his long residence in Portland he formed a trio with bassist David Friesen and drummer Alan Jones. They stayed together for five years.

When in Portland Don found time to study with well-known pianist and teacher Jerome Grey of Seattle. He also has gained note as a composer whose works are performed currently by trumpeter Al Molina, Tom Harrell, Saxophonist Francis Vanek and other San Francisco area artists.

He stayed for many years creating a completely new life and reputation and fathering a second son, Steven D. Alberts b. October 29, 1969, Portland, Oregon. Mother, Lesa Langer b. September 2, 1948, Portland, Oregon. Steven now resides in Maryland. Don is frequently found playing at Pearl's, on Columbus Avenue and also at The Cypress Club where he has played on Saturday nights for the past five years with his own trio that includes, Frank Passantino (bass) and Buddy Barnhill (drums). All three are included in the historic photo "The San Francisco Giants of JAZZ." His hobbies include writing novels, short stories and poetry.

Intuition (2001); Jazz Piano Solos (2003); Compositions heard on Tangier (1981); Frank Vanek: Redwood Range (1985); and Gordon Stevens: Home Coming (1999)
Don Alberts has composed over 250 songs.

There are five volumes of his work archived in the Library of Congress.
"Collected Works of Don Alberts" Vol 1 copyright 1987
"Collected Works of Don Alberts" Vol 2 copyright 1988
"Jazz Compositions by Don Alberts" copyright 1996
"Don Alberts Jazz Compositions Volume Three" copyright 2001
"Don Alberts Original Jazz Compositions Volume Four" copyright 2002

Don Alberts has appeared as extras in four films: Frozen Assets w/ Corbin Bernsen and Shelly Long; Programed For Murder w/ Bobby Benson; Hear No Evil, See No Evil w/ Martin Sheen and Marily Matlin; Mrs. Doubtfire w/ Sally Fields and Robin Williams

Willamette Cable: "Local Hero," 30 Minute Jazz Piano performance, released Oregon.

Radio broadcasts:
Jazz Broadcasting host on Stations: KMHD, Portland, Oregon- briefly; KKUL, Portland, Oregon 1 yr.; KKEY, Vancouver, Washington 3yrs./Festival host and interviewer

Playing piano on the "The Late, Late Show" with Tom Snyder during an interview with Cheech Marin while filming at the Cypress Club in San Francisco.

Contact information:
Don Alberts
3340 Del Sol #214
San Diego, Ca. 92154


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