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Album Review

Doug MacDonald: Sextet Session

Read "Sextet Session" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Guitarist Doug MacDonald records albums like someone who is either making up for lost time or does not have much time to spare. According to his discography, Sextet Session is at least the thirty-second album MacDonald has led or co-led, almost half of which have been released in the past couple of years or so. To keep things fresh, MacDonald has performed with almost every size group from big band to duo, but not often with as sharp and experienced ...

Album Review

Doug MacDonald Trio: Edwin Alley

Read "Edwin Alley" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Los Angeles-based guitarist Doug MacDonald, busy as ever, is comfortable in any setting, from big band to solo. On Edwin Alley, MacDonald leads a trio (Mike Flick, bass; Kendall Kay, drums) through eight of his bright and well-drawn original compositions and one standard, the amorous entreaty “You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To." The album is a follow-up to MacDonald's impressive trio date Serenade to Highland Park and is his tenth recording as a leader in the last six ...

Album Review

Doug MacDonald: Big Band Extravaganza

Read "Big Band Extravaganza" reviewed by Richard J Salvucci

Some reviewers have been known to complain that contemporary big bands can do most anything but swing. Like all generalizations, there is some merit to the observation. But, like all generalizations, the occasional exception falsifies it. Looking for a big band that pushes all the right buttons? Look no further. Doug MacDonald's “desert jazz" band is an extremely good one. While it might be difficult to make claims about the novelty of what is on offer, the band is tight, ...

Album Review

Doug MacDonald: Big Band Extravaganza

Read "Big Band Extravaganza" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Pardon the superlative, but what a terrific album! Extravanga marks the debut of guitarist Doug MacDonald's seventeen-member Jazz Orchestra, and he has guaranteed that it swings with gusto by writing nine perceptive and luminous charts that are sure to bring out the best in any ensemble, especially one as well-equipped as this. During his decades-long career as one of the West Coast's foremost guitarists, MacDonald has recorded fifteen albums with groups ranging from solo to duo, quartet to brass and ...

Album Review

Doug MacDonald: I'll See You in My Dreams

Read "I'll See You in My Dreams" reviewed by Jack Bowers

There is at least one constant in guitarist Doug MacDonald's long and rewarding career: he likes to stay busy, whether hosting live gigs or inhabiting a recording studio. MacDonald's latest quartet session, I'll See You in My Dreams, is at least his twenty- ninth as leader of groups of various sizes and shapes. It is also a homecoming of sorts, as MacDonald is reunited here with the co-leaders of one of his earlier employers, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, namely bassist ...

Album Review

Doug MacDonald: Overtones

Read "Overtones" reviewed by Jack Bowers

The term “all-star" is not one to be used lightly. Be that as it may, the appellation fits guitarist Doug MacDonald's Los Angeles-based octet as snugly as a glove; he and his colleagues are among the finest, most experienced and in-demand musicians on the West Coast. On Overtones, recorded in September 2021, the ensemble shows its mastery by gracefully skating through seven of MacDonald's upbeat themes and one standard, Ram Ramirez' ardent “Lover Man." Three of MacDonald's ...

Album Review

Doug MacDonald: Serenade to Highland Park

Read "Serenade to Highland Park" reviewed by Richard J Salvucci

According to Kirk Silsbee, noted jazz writer and student of the LA jazz scene, Highland Park is “mainly Latino, though working-class art types live there and have their studios there. And it's at the foot of Mt Washington, a place for arty affluence." Well, if Highland Park is the new trendy place to be, and the standards and selected originals by Doug McDonald give you a feel for what is on offer in the neighborhood, it sounds like ...


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