"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!

Interpreting Melodies
 
Interpreting Melodies
Interpreting melodies is an essential, yet often overlooked skill for young jazz players and arrangers. This is understandable. How could we expect anything different when instrumentalists are exclusively taught and expected to play music exactly as it is presented to them in lessons and band class? But, within a jazz quartet, it would sound ludicrous…
Clark Terry autobiography
 
Clark Terry autobiography
A quote from Clark, the autobiography of trumpeter Clark Terry: “Emulate, assimilate, and innovate.” (Clark Terry) Clark Terry’s formula for success is prominently displayed at the top of all my jazz improvisation course syllabi. A more succinct and accurate summary of the process for learning jazz doesn’t exist. I just finished the Clark Terry autobiography and…
Contextualizing Jazz
 
Contextualizing Jazz
Where Are We? How Did We Get Here? And Where Are We Headed? Why do most jazz history textbooks (not to mention the infamous Ken Burns jazz documentary) end around 1970 and/or give only fleeting mentions of truly contemporary jazz? Is thirty or forty years still too recent to comment reflectively? Has nothing of artistic…
Consider this quote:
 
Consider this quote:
The only clear line I draw these days is this: when my religion tries to come between me and my neighbor, I will choose my neighbor… Jesus never commanded me to love my religion.   – Barbara Brown Taylor (from her most recent book, Holy Envy.)
Trumpet Practice Routine
 
Trumpet Practice Routine
Following a daily trumpet practice routine with my son was a definite highlight of my summer. I enjoyed introducing him to some introductory jazz concepts, and it has been really fun observing his progress. Before moving on to a new fall routine, here are some reflections, to document what we practiced over the summer months.…
The Power of Incentive
 
The Power of Incentive
How do you get a kid to do something for which they have limited interest? Sometimes it’s just a matter of finding the right incentive. This summer, I wanted my 13-year old son to learn the twelve major scales on his instrument. (Knowing scales is foundational for all music making, but especially for jazz. One…
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.

Available for:



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