Doug MacDonald: Live in Hawaii

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Doug MacDonald: Live in Hawaii
Here is a guitar-led quartet with a couple of fresh angles. First, instead of using a piano, guitarist Doug MacDonald has enlisted vibraphonist Noel Okimoto to provide the harmonic counterpoint; and second, Philadelphia-born MacDonald has temporarily forsaken his decades-long base in Southern California to return "home" to Hawaii, where he began his professional career performing with Trummy Young, Gabe Baltazar and Del Courtney.

What is not new but nonetheless welcome is MacDonald's superior command of his instrument, using clean, angular and always engaging lines that leave the listener wishing for more of the same. He is also a splendid writer, as he proves on the buoyant "Cat City Samba" (based on the standard "Out of Nowhere") and the rhythmic "Bossa Don." MacDonald's supporting cast—Okimoto, bassist Dean Taba, drummer Darryl Pellegrini— play their parts quite well in a session that was recorded in front of an appreciative audience at Hawaii Public Radio in Honolulu.

MacDonald's originals are chaperoned by the standards "My Shining Hour," "Star Eyes" and "Stranger in Paradise," Oscar Pettiford's "Blues in the Closet" and Lester Young's "Lester Leaps In." The mood is upbeat throughout, and McDonald and his mates give every melody its due before entering the realm of spontaneity. Even though Okimoto would never be mistaken for Terry Gibbs or Joe Locke, he is a first-rate technician who gets the job done with no fuss and swings as hard as needed. Taba and Pellegrini are not showcased as often but make the most of every opportunity, blowing with earnestness and perception.

It can be affirmed without question that MacDonald's return to Hawaii was a terrific idea. Having said that, it should be further noted that listening to MacDonald perform, regardless of locale or circumstances, is also a terrific idea.

Track Listing

My Shining Hour; Cat City Samba; Blues in the Closet; Star Eyes; Bossa Don; Lester Leaps In; Stranger in Paradise.


Doug MacDonald: guitar; Noel Okimoto: vibraphone; Dean Taba: bass; Darryl Pellegrini: drums.

Album information

Title: Live in Hawaii | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Self Produced

Post a comment about this album


Shop Amazon


Invisible Words
Falkner Evans
Bob Mintzer & WDR Big Band Cologne
Another Land
Dave Holland
Native Sons
Los Lobos
Dewa Budjana
The Last Call
Larry Coryell & Philip Catherine


All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.