"A magical, musical alchemist of hip hybrids"

Owen McNally, the Hartford Courant

"smart, economical writing and fabulous blowing"

Marc Myers, JazzWax

"an artistic visionary"

George W Carroll, NiteLifeExchange.com

"a major force in the world of jazz composition"

Dan Bilawsky, All About Jazz

"one of the most accomplished pianists in the business"

Edward Blanco, All About Jazz


Jazz Music Producer of the Year

2019 Independent Music Awards

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Latest posts!

Recalling Jazz Standards
 
Recalling Jazz Standards
I had the pleasure of playing with tenor saxophonist Grant Stewart on Tuesday evening at the Northampton Jazz Workshop. It is interesting our paths hadn’t crossed before, given that Grant and I are both originally from Canada. He’s a really solid player with a firm grasp of the hard bop vocabulary of tenor titans like Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, Hank Mobley etc. Despite being situated in the lounge of a Spare Time Bowling Alley, they’ve…
We Demand Action
 
We Demand Action
Three mass shootings in one week, not to mention countless other gun related deaths (suicides, domestic violence, homicides, accidents, etc.) — Is this enough to incite change and spur our lawmakers into action?
Essential Jazz Reading: Notes and Tones, by Arthur Taylor
 
Essential Jazz Reading: Notes and Tones, by Arthur Taylor
Even now, after having studied and played jazz music for more than three decades, there’s still plenty I will admit to not knowing about the art form, and the context in which much of it was created. I was drawn to this music in the late 1980’s, as a Canadian teenager who loved what he heard, but who was somewhat oblivious to the ongoing racial strife in America. Sure, I read plenty of biographies and…
Arranging “Dig In Buddy”
 
Arranging “Dig In Buddy”
Tyler Hornby, a drummer based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, hired me to write a big band arrangement of his composition, “Dig In Buddy.” When it was completed, I decided to adapt it to perform and record with my own 10-piece band. Here is the final version, as it was recorded on my new album “Open Borders,” which is available now through CD Baby. As I listen back to this arrangement, I can hear and am reminded…
Sordid Sort of Fellow
 
Sordid Sort of Fellow
Sordid Sort of Fellow will be the second track on my coming album, “Open Borders.” The song includes solos by Josh Evans (trumpet), Sara Jacovino (trombone), Henry Lugo (string bass) and me (piano). I am saving the recording until it’s release in October, but here is a live version to whet your whistle: When commissioned to write a piece for the 2009 Central Massachusetts District Jazz Band, I knew the big band would include many…
Earl MacDonald is a composer, arranger, pianist and educator specializing in jazz. Originally from Canada, the former musical director for Maynard Ferguson is now based in Connecticut, halfway between Boston and NYC. Here you can find out about Earl’s new music, performances, teaching, and latest projects. Visit Earl’s blog, download MP3s, buy CDs, read reviews, or take a free online lesson. Enjoy, browse leisurely and visit often.

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artist-in-residence programs • clinicscommissionscross-disciplinary collaborationsfestival adjudicationguest conducting of all-state and regional jazz ensembles • performances (with one of Earl's many bands) • soloist appearancesrecord productionsummer music camp instructionworkshops