Home » Jazz Articles » Doug MacDonald: Serenade to Highland Park


Album Review

Doug MacDonald: Serenade to Highland Park


Sign in to view read count
Doug MacDonald: Serenade to Highland Park
On Serenade to Highland Park, three consummate professionals salute the Los Angeles neighborhood in which the album was recorded. The three are guitarist Doug MacDonald, bassist Mike Flick and drummer Paul Kreibich, each of whom is among the best-known and busiest jazz musicians on the West Coast. Listening to them play is akin to catching a set by the Jeff Hamilton Trio, with MacDonald's bright and nimble guitar replacing Tamir Hendelman's always trim and engaging piano.

A second similarity lies in the choice of music, as MacDonald and Hamilton both rely heavily on the tried and true Great American Songbook for inspiration. It is a wise choice, as the trio format is well-served by such superlative melodies as "Dearly Beloved," "More Than You Know," "They Say It's Wonderful," "Brazil," "Frenesi" and "You Stepped Out of a Dream," among others. MacDonald contributed a pair of original compositions, the waltz "Hortense" and easygoing "Serenade to Highland Park." Completing the attractive program are Luiz Bonfa's "Manha de Carnaval," Al Dubin/Harry Warren's "Shadow Waltz" and "Next Time You See Me," by Bill Harvey and Earl Forest.

MacDonald uses lovely chordal passages and sunny single-note runs to bring out the best in every melody, while Flick and Kreibich are as alert and reliable as one could wish from a rhythm section. Kreibich earns special plaudits for resisting the urge, as some drummers are wont to do, to use his kit to say "hey, listen to me!" In other words, he is an accompanist, not a showboat, a trait he has in common with the above-named Jeff Hamilton. And, like Hamilton, Kreibich is also an accomplished soloist (see "Brazil"), as is Flick. As for MacDonald, he makes everything sound deceptively smooth and easy, as the best players always do.

It is pointless to choose highlights when everything is so well-designed. It is also hard to award four stars (or more) to any trio this side of Hamilton's, but Serenade to Highland Park is a plausible exception to that rule.

Track Listing

Days of Wine and Roses; Manha de Carnaval; Next Time You See Me; Hortense; Dearly Beloved; More Than You Know; Shadow Waltz; They Say It’s Wonderful; Brazil; Serenade to Highland Park; Frenesi; You Stepped Out of a Dream.


Doug MacDonald: guitar; Mike Flick: bass, acoustic; Paul Kreibich: drums.

Album information

Title: Serenade to Highland Park | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Self Produced

Post a comment about this album

Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.



Gard Nilssen's Supersonic Orchestra
Christopher McBride
Beyond Orbits
Miho Hazama's M_Unit


Double Portrait
Giuseppe Millaci and the Vogue Trio
Afro Futuristic Dreams
Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids
Dynamic Maximum Tension
Darcy James Argue's Secret Society

On the record

Vibes on a Breath
Ted Piltzecker
Jonathan Karrant
Brazilian Match
Luiz Millan
Double Portrait
Giuseppe Millaci and the Vogue Trio

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.