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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 ...


Album Review

Doug MacDonald: Overtones

Read "Overtones" reviewed by Richard J Salvucci

Some of you may well remember Arthur Conley's 1967 chart-topper, “Sweet Soul Music." The lyrics began with the imperishable line, “Do you like good music?" That may resonate with listeners of a certain age, because Overtones: Doug MacDonald and the L.A. All Star Octet certainly qualifies as “good music." What is it about West Coast stuff inflected with Birth of the Cool? It somehow never gets old, even when a listener thinks, “Hmm. There may not be anything new here, ...


Album Review

Doug MacDonald: Overtones

Read "Overtones" reviewed by Edward Blanco

Los Angeles-based guitarist Doug MacDonald just happens to be one of the most active recording musicians in the country, with three releases in 2021 alone and at least two more dating back to 2019. Add to that list, this 2022 recording of Overtones and you can understand MacDonald's devotion to producing music as evidenced by his large discography. A prolific composer, MacDonald's eight-track repertoire consist almost entirely of original compositions, with the only exception being a fine rendition of Ram ...


Album Review

Doug MacDonald and the L.A. All-Star Octet: Overtones

Read "Overtones" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Doug MacDonald's mind is as active as his fingers. The Los Angeles-based guitarist divides his time between writing and playing, and he writes as well as he plays, which is impeccably. Overtones, on which he leads an All-Star Octet (we checked, and all-star is precisely the proper term), is MacDonald's fourth album in the last year or so and twentieth-plus over-all. As is generally the case, most of the songs are his (seven of eight), and they are consistently bright ...


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