25 June 1946 – 9 February 2022

Co-founder of King Crimson and Foreigner Ian McDonald, passed away last week of cancer at age 75. McDonald was an essential creative force within the original incarnation of King Crimson in 1969. He quitted the band shortly after the release of the landmark debut album 'In The Court Of The Crimson King' together with drummer Michael Giles, with whom he recorded the very good, overlooked and undervalued album 'McDonald & Giles' in 1970.

McDonald played flute, sax and keyboards and played a lead role in the beautiful King Crimson ballad 'I Talk To The Wind,' where, apart from his haunting vocals, his melodic approach in improvising comes to great exposure during the flute solo. It took years before McDonald came to peace with his decision to quit King Crimson in '69. In the late 90's, he was part of a (one-off) prog rock super group led by Genesis-guitarist Steve Hackett and he joined the 21 Century Schizoid band in the early 00's, where drummer Giles also was a part of. 21CSB lead singer Jakko Jakszyk would become the lead singer and guitar player of the official King Crimson in 2013.

In the book 'In The Court Of King Crimson: An Observation Over 50 Years' by Sid Smith, Fripp confirmed that Ian McDonald was his preferred candidate to continue King Crimson without him, back in 1974 (where he made a guest performance on the studio album 'Red'). Management rejected the idea and it never happened. Fripp even considered McDonald the most important creative force of the original line-up. McDonald started the succesful band Foreigner in 76. It would take until 2014 before the repertoire from 'Court' would be performed live again by the official King Crimson band. Pieces like '21st Century Schizoid Man', 'Epitaph', 'Moonchild' and 'The Court Of The Crimson King' pleased the audience on a high level, McDonald himself included.

[Robin Boer_©PJ2022]