Charles Donald Alias, Sr., son of Eugene Alias and Violet Richardson, was born on December 25, 1939 in Harlem, New York.
Don received his education in Boston where he met and wedded Paulette Wilson. From this union two beautiful children were born - Charles Donald Alias, Jr. and Kimberlee Marisa Alias. The family has grown to include four wonderful grandchildren - Franklin, Avante, Devin and Chloe Alias.
While in Boston he spent many nights at the Berklee School dorms. It was there that he jammed with drummer Tony Williams and pianist Chick Corea and became part of a band called Los Muchachos, along with bassist Gene Perla who became his life long partner. Don played percussion as a child in Harlem and began his working career steeped in Afro-Cuban music. In the 70's and 80's he worked with an array of legendary musicians including Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Nina Simone, Herbie Hancock, Pat Matheny, Lou Rawls, Mongo Santamaria, Roberta Flack, Chick Corea, Joni Mitchell, Chuck Mangione, David Sanborn and many, many others. His first venture leading a band came with the creation of his group Stone Alliance that included saxophonist Steve Grossman and bassist Gene Perla.
What possess someone to play the conga drum, to beat on a drum with your hands? It's a strange instrument I'll say, and in some ways really masochistic to play them. Listen to your heartbeat, it is like a drum, and you cannot live without your heart. - Don Alias