For MacDonald, the most significant and personal influencesbeyond those of the greats such as Monk or Coltraneare those with musicians he has been able to play with and with whom he has been able to form some kind of musical bond. From Lol Coxhill, he gained the sense of freedom and liberation, that "anything was possible and you had permission to do anything musically." He describes playing, and talking, with Evan Parker"an artist with such an amazing history, such an amazing technique but such a broad approach to the music" -as "almost an epiphanic moment" his career.
The third such influence has been Marilyn Crispell. By the time this article appears, MacDonald and Crispell will have finished a UK tour and, hopefully, will have a second CD in the can. Their first Parallel Moments (Babel 2014) was recorded at London's Vortex Jazz Club in 2010. The record's great strengths lie in both players' melodic gifts and ability to lend just the right emotional weight and drama to each improvisation. Some of their improvisations achieve an almost song-like structure at times. What emerges is more than a journey through sound but more a series of stories filled with different events and moods. It is more than empathy, more a melding of thoughts and emotions. As MacDonald notes,
"Again, I don't want to sound hyperbolic but she is one of the most important improvising piano players in the world. She really is quite spellbinding. You get the chance to play with somebody and you feel you are changed and that your perspective has been changed and your music has been taken to a new place as well. I feel really lucky that I've had the chance to work with people like that."
Notes on CDs:
Hung Drawn QuartetHey There You Hosers HDQ CDThis is a delightful sax quartet record full of warmth and humour. A crucial aspect of its success is the fact that these four musiciansMacDonald, Graeme Wilson (tenor), Allon Beauvoisin (baritone), Keith Edwards (alto)are very fine rhythm players.
Nakatani/Fells/Nicholson/MacDonald/DavisonAporias Creative Sources CD -Think Evan Parker's Electro-Acoustic Ensemble meets early AMM Music. Exceptional playing fused with highly creative use of sampling and electronic processing. Note in particular the contribution of guitarist Neil Davidson and drummer Tatsuya Nakatini.
George Burt-Raymond MacDonald Quintet -Hotel Dilettante Textile RecordsWith special guests Lol Coxhill and Sushil K. Dade on bass and theremin. This is something else! A truly hip, psychedelic jazz record. At several points, it sounds like George Burt is channelling Jerry Garcia. A simply astonishing group record.
George Burt-Raymond MacDonald SextetDay For A Reason Leo RecordsPerhaps the most 'Scottish' of the Burt/MacDonald group records. Beautiful folk melodies meet jazz meet free improvisation and the winner is music. Fine drumming from Alan Cosker and a gorgeously weighted performance from guest Keith Tippett.
MacDonald/Fujii/Davidson/Tamura/Bancroft -Cities Nu-JazzAmazing that music this coherent can result from a coming together of musicians from opposite sides of the globe meeting personally and musically for the first time.
Raymond MacDonald International Big Band -Buddy Textile RecordsSimply great big band free improvisation by a stellar ensemble.
Raymond McDonald & Marilyn Crispell -Parallel Moments BabelCrispell is one of the greatest improvising pianists. Just ask Anthony Braxton! Yet, MacDonald matches her perfectly here. Beautifully sensitive and elegant but filled with intriguing twists and turns.
Alister Spence/Raymond MacDonald -Stepping Between The Shadows Rufus RecordsAt times quite minimalistic in the mood and soundscape it creates, this is another exceptional meeting of minds and talents.
Rhythm Abstraction: Azure is the first volume of new compositions created as a follow up to 2018’s
release Rhythm Kaleidoscope. As with that release, Brock Avery improvised drum and percussion
solos. Frank Macchia then composed music for woodwinds and orchestra to Brock’s creations. Azure
is the first of three extended play albums of 6-7 compositions which will be released starting in
January and followed up in April and July. In Azure we have a created a group of pieces that continue
our quest for honoring the art of improvisation with a “stream-of-consciousness” sense of
We sent a confirmation message to . Look for it, then click the link to activate your account. If you don’t see the email in your inbox, check your spam, bulk or promotions folder.
Thanks for joining the All About Jazz community!
Find All About Jazz articles, news, musician pages, and more!