André DONNI was born in a musical family, as his father, the guitar player Willy DONNI, is a legendary figure on the Belgian blues scene.
He has rapidly developed into a talented clarinet and saxophone player whose playing is firmly rooted in the the jazz tradition.
His professional experience started at an early age, playing with his father, but with many other well known jazz musicians of the mainstream jazz scene of Belgium.
In 1992, he founded with guitarist Jooke SCHREURS the band A DRUM IS A WOMAN, which presented quartet arrangements of the music of Duke ELLINGTON.
In the nineties, he joins THE SWEET SUBSTITUTES, the band of Belgian bass veteran Paul DUBOIS and pianist Charles LOOS, a reunion of first-rate musicians : Richard ROUSSELET (trumpet), Phil ABRAHAM (trombone), Paolo RADONI (guitar) and Luc VANDEN BOSCH, drums
The band has released the album "The Sweet Substitutes".
He also had the opportunity to be part of the project OLIE OP DUKE, another tribute to Duke ELLINGTON with a.o. Benjamin BOUTREUR (sax), Peter VERMEERSCH (sax) Bart MARIS (tp), Nico SCHEPERS (tp), Thomas DE PRINS (piano) and Jokke SCHREURS (gt) etc...
But one his most interesting achievements is his long time collaboration with with one the major pianists and composers from Belgium, Charles LOOS, with whom he played in various formulas, duo, trio, quartet, etc.
They met for the first time in 1993, when Charles set up the group THE SWEET SUBSTITUTES, then the OLD TIME TRIO with drummer Luc VANDEN BOSCH, a trio that also did concerts with tap dancer Martine HEBETTE.
André DONNI is one of the few young Belgian musician who have completely assimilated the jazz tradition. Together they started revisiting the music of Jelly Roll MORTON, of Benny GOODMAN, Duke ELLINGTON and George GERSHWIN, and the sound of André's tenor sax, then in his twenties, already showed astonishing maturity, offering so much more than a simple homage to his favourite musicians, the great US tenor players Ben WEBSTER, Coleman HAWKINS or Paul GONSALVES.
Later on, Charles took André into other territories, as they started playing his compositions. Their complicity is illustrated by several albums, such as :
"Unknown Mallow" (Igloo igl 126, released in 1996), with US drummer Rick HOLLANDER and bassist Philippe AERTS : With one exception, a piece by Billy STRAYHORN, all pieces are original, but re-created in a Blue Note approach of the years 50-60
more recently, "Just one of those things" (Wazif, released in 2002)
or the even more unexpected Charles LOOS / André DONNI | AISSAWAS of Rabat : "Chou'Our Moutabadila" (Igloo igl 135, released in 1997), on which they meet the traditional ensemble AISSAWAS from Rabat (Morocco).