Thursday, August 5, 2010

Earl MacDonald: Re Visions

DDR Records
By Ric Bang • Originally published in The Davis Enterprise, 8.5.10
Buy CD: Re Visions

Here's a sign that all's right with the world: Another romping big band has entered the jazz scene.

This one is led by pianist/ composer/arranger Earl MacDonald. He was the musical director for the Maynard Ferguson Big Bop Nouveau Band for two years and, since then, has won numerous awards for big band arranging.

His current marvelous group consists of five reeds, eight brass players and a four-man rhythm section that includes a guitar ... and, oh my, how it swings!

The quality of the music provided also is exceptional. The melodic content is rich and thoughtful, not simplistic; the relationship between the horn sections and their "passages" illustrates the care MacDonald has taken to blend everything. The result is exemplary, and the solo work also is top-drawer.

MacDonald's recognition of each featured musician's capabilities is evident; it's as if he molded each arrangement around solos he'd already heard.

Don't miss this album; it's a shining example of big band jazz at its finest.

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