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Doug MacDonald: Serenade to Highland Park

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Doug MacDonald: Serenade to Highland Park
According to Kirk Silsbee, noted jazz writer and student of the LA jazz scene, Highland Park is "mainly Latino, though working-class art types live there and have their studios there. And it's at the foot of Mt Washington, a place for arty affluence."

Well, if Highland Park is the new trendy place to be, and the standards and selected originals by Doug McDonald give you a feel for what is on offer in the neighborhood, it sounds like it is worth a visit. MacDonald, a prolific SoCal guitarist, is paired here with a rhythm section of Mike Flick on bass and Paul Kreibich on drums. You get an hour of solid, mainstream jazz ranging from "Days of Wine and Roses" to "More Than You Know" to "You Stepped Out of a Dream." There is something for every taste. The playing is slick and upbeat, the kind of effortless excellence you can expect from talented professionals in an extremely competitive market.

Here is MacDonald describing his own conception: "The tunes we picked are standards from yesteryear, with the addition of two original compositions. Our instrumentation of guitar, bass, and drums are often misunderstood in today's modern music scene. The harmonic nature of an ensemble without piano is often underappreciated. The guitar plays the melodies, in what is referred to as 'chord melody,' a technique that blends the melodic lines with the harmony. The bass and drums add a very important counterpoint texture, interplaying with the guitar. They are more than mere accompanists!"

As usual, it is difficult to pick a favorite tune when you have to choose from Henry Mancini, Luiz Bonfa, Jerome Kern, Vincent Youmans, Irving Berlin, Nacio Herb Brown, and Harry Warren. This is a package of great tunes done by terrific players. There may not be anything new, but good taste is never out of fashion.

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.

Personnel

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

Album information

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

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