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Dave MacKay

David Owen Mackay was an American jazz pianist, singer-composer with roots in the works of Art Tatum, Bud Powell, and Bill Evans, who favored the standards of the 1940s and 1950s and the bossa novas of Luíz Eça, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and João Gilberto when performing.'

Mackay was born in Syracuse, New York. He attended Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut from 1950 to 1954, where he was the first blind student to graduate. He then attended Boston University from 1956 to 1958, where he studied with Margaret Charloff. Mackay also studied with Lennie Tristano in New York City, then at the Lenox School of Jazz where he studied with Bill Evans, and lastly at The Hartford School of Music where he studied with Asher Zlotnik.

In the mid-1960s, Mackay joined the Hindustani Jazz Sextet with Don Ellis, Harihar Rao, who played sitar and tabla, vibraphonist Emil Richards, drummer Steve Bohannon, bassists Chuck Domanico and Ray Neapolitan. The band performed mainly original compositions which had titles like "Sweet Nineteen", "Turks Works", and "Bombay Bossa Nova". Mackay also played with the Don Ellis Orchestra in the mid-1960s. The Don Ellis Orchestra was distinguished by its unusual instrumentation (which in its early days had up to three bassists and three drummers), incorporated Indian musical elements into modern big-band writing, and different time signatures such as 5/4, 7/8, and 9/4, and more complex rhythmic cycles like 19/4 and 27/16 and its occasionally wacky humor (highlighted by an excess of false endings) and an openness towards using rock rhythms. In 1966, the Don Ellis Orchestra earned a place at the Monterey Jazz Festival. Following this successful breakthrough performance, the band performed at the Pacific Jazz Festival in October 1966, and at Shelly's Manne Hole in March 1967, releasing segments of each on 1967s Live in 3 2/3 4 Time (Pacific Jazz).

In the late-1960s, Mackay and Vicky Hamilton formed a duo and produced three recordings together. The albums include sunshine pop and the groovy side of jazz in many odd time signatures. The duo sings together on most of their tracks, with a mixed male/female vocal approach. Mackay plays Fender Rhodes and piano on the albums. The tunes are mostly originals penned by the pair, and instrumentation on the record includes flute and saxes from Ira Schulman and guitar from Joe Pass.

In the mid-1970s, Dave Mackay, Bill Henderson, and Joyce Collins formed a unique trio which toured the northwest and gained favorable reviews. The trio recorded two Grammy nominated albums for Discovery: Street of Dreams (1980) and Johnny Mercer Tribute. In 1981, Mackay, Henderson, and Collins performed their music on the television show "Ad Lib", hosted by composer and pianist Phil Moore.

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