Jazz Articles

Daily articles including interviews, profiles, live reviews, film reviews and more... all carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. You can find more articles by searching our website, see what's trending on our popular articles page or read articles ahead of their published dates on our future articles page. Read our daily album reviews.

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Album Review

Earl MacDonald: Consecrated

Read "Consecrated" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky


The searching spirit that drives the work of composer and pianist Earl MacDonald is both a reflection on musical curiosity and, to a deeper extent, a statement of faith. Bringing both of those identity-shaping aspects to the fore like never before, MacDonald uses Consecrated to work toward a higher purpose. Reshaping and resetting a series of traditional hymns in sophisticated yet accessible fashion, he conveys the core values of his Christian beliefs—love, kindness, charity—with class and creative purpose.

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Album Review

Earl MacDonald: Open Borders

Read "Open Borders" reviewed by Jack Bowers


Open Borders brings to the fore Canadian-born pianist Earl MacDonald's burnished tentet in a program that consists of eleven sunlit and swinging themes, five of which were composed by the leader. Besides writing, MacDonald did most of the arranging, and he excels in both arenas, as he does on piano (most notably on the standards “Blame It On My Youth" and “East of the Sun" as well as on Percy Mayfield's R&B classic “Hit the Road Jack" and his own ...

4

Album Review

Earl MacDonald: Open Borders

Read "Open Borders" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic


Not many piano led ensembles finds the pianist laying as far back in the musical dialogue as Earl MacDonald, who doesn't come anywhere near an extended solo until “Miles Apart" and Percy Mayfield's Ray Charles blow- out “Hit The Road Jack" (tracks five and six respectively). But that's just fine given that MacDonald has charted the conversations and man oh man, do these arrangements crackle with spirit.From the high-flying “Dig In Buddy" to the exhilarating Latin flavors “Dolphy ...

4

Album Review

Earl MacDonald: Open Borders

Read "Open Borders" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky


Politicians might do well to take a few pointers from pianist-arranger Earl MacDonald. As this fine album attests to, it's far better to build bridges than walls, and far more productive to open borders and dialogue than close hearts, minds, and doors. While MacDonald didn't initially set out to make a political statement with this recording, both the events of the day and the make-up of the marvelously tight dectet that brings this music to life got ...

4

Album Review

Earl MacDonald and the Creative Opportunity Workshop: Mirror of the Mind

Read "Mirror of the Mind" reviewed by Bruce Lindsay


Death Defying Records, it says on the cover. A doom-laden title for a record label but any expectations of a frenzy of black metal or gangster rap are soon dispelled by the beautiful cello and piano interplay on the opening bars of the title track. Mirror Of The Mind, from pianist Earl MacDonald and the Creative Opportunity Workshop, is an album that surprises and delights--from the unusual piano, cello, sax and percussion line-up to the mix of styles and inspirations ...

2

Album Review

Earl MacDonald and the Creative Opportunity Workshop: Mirror of the Mind

Read "Mirror of the Mind" reviewed by Edward Blanco


Not satisfied with the traditional jazz spectrum, pianist and educator Earl MacDonald explores new ways of expressing his progressive taste and with Mirror of the Mind deciding to challenge the boundaries of jazz with a unique instrumentation and sound forged by his new band, Creative Opportunity Workshop. As Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Connecticut and former director of Maynard Ferguson's Big Bop Nouveau Band, MacDonald has had plenty of experience in the large ensemble circuit and with ...

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Album Review

Earl MacDonald: Re:Visions

Read "Re:Visions" reviewed by Woodrow Wilkins


In a period when many new recordings feature trios, quartets or other small ensembles, it's refreshing when a full-size orchestra comes along. Pianist, composer and arranger Earl MacDonald offers that refreshment with Re:Visions--Works for Jazz Orchestra. MacDonald is a native of Winnipeg, Canada and director of jazz studies at the University of Connecticut. A winner of several awards, MacDonald spent two years as musical director, pianist and arranger for the Maynard Ferguson Big Bop Nouveau Band. He composed ...


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