Donald “Duck” Dunn, the great soul session bassist and Booker T & The MG’s member, died in his sleep on Sunday in Tokyo. On tour in Japan, he’d just played a double show at the city’s Blue Note club. No causes have been revealed. Dunn was 70.
Dunn started out in the early ’60s, playing bass in various bands alongside guitarist Steve Cropper, his childhood friend. Cropper and Booker T. Jones founded the great instrumental band Booker T & The MG’s in 1962, and Dunn joined up two years later, playing with the band for years. (He also continued playing with Cropper for the rest of his life; the two were on tour in Japan together.) Dunn and the rest of the MG’s also worked as the house band at Stax Records during that band’s ridiculously great ’60s run, playing on classics from people like Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, and Wilson Pickett. In later years, Dunn would go on to play with people like Bob Dylan and Neil Young. He also played himself and was generally awesome in The Blues Brothers.
Below, watch footage of Booker T & The MG’s, with Dunn, playing “Time Is Tight.”