228

Doug MacDonald: Gentle Rain

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Doug MacDonald: Gentle Rain The long tradition of the mellow jazz guitar established by Barney Kessel, Johnny Smith, Herb Ellis, Billy Bauer, Jim Hall and others, and carried forward by Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell, Ed Bickert, Howard Alden and their peers, remains in the capable hands of (relatively) younger players such as John Pizzarelli, Chris Flory and Joe Cohn. Doug MacDonald, now in his 50s, falls somewhere in between, having been on the scene for more than two decades while never forswearing his debt to Kessel, Smith, Hall and others who pointed the way.

Gentle Rain, MacDonald's ninth album as leader and third for Sea Breeze Records, finds him in a cozy, laid-back trio/quartet groove, able to give free rein to his creative juices while keeping his warm, seductive tone front and center. MacDonald's lithe, gently swinging approach is clear from the outset on "Miss Ann's Tempo (which, by the way, is about perfect), the first of eight tracks on which the full quartet performs. The pianist, as is the case on five other selections, is the remarkable Ross Tompkins. Marty Harris, no laggard himself, ably mans the keyboard on "Sweet and Lovely and "I'm Getting Sentimental. He's a tad more assertive than Tompkins, employing a heavier touch and sharper approach that give those tracks more of a stride/Oscar Peterson temperament.

On five numbers (MacDonald plays solo guitar on "Gentle Rain"), the leader is backed only by bassist Harvey Newmark and drummer Jack LeCompte, both new names to me but quite obviously talented musicians who make their presence known while deferring to MacDonald's primacy and ceding him ample space in which to roam. As for MacDonald, it's hard for me to measure him, comparatively speaking, as most guitarists from the "cool school sound wonderful (and nearly identical) to me. Suffice to say that he has chosen a number of alluring songs (it's a pleasure to hear "Idaho again, also "Symphony and "Baubles ) and approaches each of them with ardor and intelligence, as do his companions. As a bonus, he tosses in a snappy original, "Cry, on which the quartet (with Tompkins) excels.

While not everyone is enamored by the guitar, those who are should derive enormous pleasure from MacDonald's album, on which every component slides neatly into place and everyone does his part to maximize its congeniality and charm.

Track Listing: Miss Ann

Personnel: Doug MacDonald: guitar; Ross Tompkins (1,3,4,6,9,12), Marty Harris (7,14): piano ; Harvey Newmark: bass; Jack LeCompte: drums.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Sea Breeze Jazz | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Pathways CD/LP/Track Review Pathways
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Landing CD/LP/Track Review Landing
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Words And Music CD/LP/Track Review Words And Music
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Faces CD/LP/Track Review Faces
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Nor Sea, nor Land, nor Salty Waves CD/LP/Track Review Nor Sea, nor Land, nor Salty Waves
by Duncan Heining
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Petite Afrique CD/LP/Track Review Petite Afrique
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 29, 2017
Read "Collectables" CD/LP/Track Review Collectables
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 2, 2016
Read "LifeCycle" CD/LP/Track Review LifeCycle
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 23, 2017
Read "Kingdom" CD/LP/Track Review Kingdom
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 20, 2017
Read "Journey To The Heart" CD/LP/Track Review Journey To The Heart
by Jeff Winbush
Published: August 12, 2016
Read "Cactus" CD/LP/Track Review Cactus
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 26, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!