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Doug MacDonald: Overtones


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Doug MacDonald: Overtones
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, but great players, very good tunes, and careful production will always carry the day." And Doug MacDonald, a busy and visible LA guitarist, certainly does carry it here. If you like mainstream, bop-influenced small groups featuring killer musicians, this is certain to be a very enjoyable recording. Those with more exotic tastes may disagree, but for recordings of this genre, this is good listening.

There are seven originals here, all arranged by MacDonald. "Night By Night" swings out over the changes to "Day by Day," and features cruising solos by MacDonald, Kim Richmond, saxophonist Rickey Woodard, pianist Bill Cunliffe, trombone man Ira Nepus, Aaron Janik, and Chuck Berghofer. If you are partial to a basic twelve-bar blues, MacDonald gives you "Blues by Eight." Not terribly greasy, but tasty.—finger-popping, toe tapping good. "Lover Man," the sole cover, has quite a bop pedigree, and curiosity naturally takes you there. It is a feature for MacDonald, and he gets to stretch out. The version is warm, tasteful, and not at all nostalgic, with the Octet coming in at the end. What about drummer Roy McCurdy? Try "Over #21." Yes, Roy McCurdy can play a back beat, ably accompanied by Nepus, Woodard and MacDonald. And Woodard? He even gets his own tune, "Rickey Speaking" but more than a chorus would have been nice.

So, do you like good music? Go and seek no further, today at least.

Track Listing

Night by Night; Bossa for PK; Blues by Eight; Hortense; Lover Man; Over #21; Ground Up; Rickey Speaking.


Doug MacDonald: guitar; Aaron Janik: trumpet; Kim Richmond: saxophone; Rickey Woodard: saxophone; Ira Nepus: trombone; Bill Cunliffe: piano; Chuck Berghofer: bass, acoustic; Roy McCurdy: drums.

Album information

Title: Overtones | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Self Produced

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