What Musicians Are Saying

“Earl – I wanted to tell you how much I’ve been enjoying Open Borders. I’ve enjoyed all of your CDs, but this one particularly spoke to me. The sound you get from 11 instruments sounds as full as a big band, but with perhaps more clarity. Your compositions and arrangements are very imaginative and well-scored. The musicians are all great; some I know well, others less so, but all are masterful. This is one the best recordings I’ve heard in recent months.”

Scott Reeves (March 2018)
trombonist, alto flugelhornist, composer, arranger, author and
Professor, The City College of New York, CUNY

“Incredible band, sound is great, nice writing, nice playing, good team effort clearly inspired by an inspired leader. Glad to hear it !”

Dave Douglas (June 2010)dave_douglas
Two-time Grammy nominated jazz trumpeter / composer / bandleader

fredsturm“I’ve listened to your CD twice and enjoy it thoroughly. Wonderful composing and arranging — and playing by the band, of course. I have to admit that I’m getting to be an old cynical coot about so much of what I hear for the large jazz ensemble these days, and it was refreshing to hear a writer with such a depth of imagination and rock solid craft — really artistic writing. I’m gonna buy Friday Night at the Cadillac Club today with hopes my trumpets can cut it for our final concert next month, and I’ll certainly snag a few more of the charts from the CD next year.”

Fred Sturm (June 2010)
Director of Jazz & Improvised Music at Lawrence University,
Author of “Changes Over Time: The Evolution of Jazz Arranging”

donsebesky_jazzsession“I really enjoyed your CD! Keep up the great work!”

Don Sebesky (March 2010)
Three-time Grammy Award winner,
Author of “The Contemporary Arranger”

dennisdiblasioEarl MacDonald writes in a solid style with a deep rooted understanding in big band music. An indicator of a great writer is when the music is actually easier to play than it sounds. Earl’s charts are not only thought through but they are great vehicles for teaching. Because Earl used some of the best musicians on the planet for his recording should not make you think his music is too hard to play. A really good high school or college band will shine with Earl’s music in front of them.

Bravo Earl! When is the next recording?!

Denis DiBlasio (June 2010)
Baritone saxophonist, composer, arranger
Director of the Maynard Ferguson Institute of Jazz Studies, Rowan University

johnfedchock_2“Earl MacDonald’s ambitious composing and arranging work on “Re: Visions” shares the finest qualities possessed by today’s leading writers in the industry.”

John Fedchock (August 2010)
Trombonist and arranger with Woody Herman (and others),
Band leader of the New York Jazz Orchestra,
Grammy-nominated Arranger

foote“You should be really proud of this disc. It really is well written, and well played (not to mention nice technical side as well). Great stuff. I really like the woodwind counterpoint in Jana’s Song. Clever and interesting in the instrumentation. It would be very nice to play your charts with the McGill Jazz Orchestra.”

Gordon Foote (September 2010)
Director, McGill Jazz Orchestra I,
interim Dean at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University

kennybarron“…an extremely talented pianist and composer with a firm grasp of the jazz tradition. He is constantly searching for new ways to express himself through his music.”

Kenny Barron (May 1995)
Jazz Pianist, Verve Recording Artist,
Professor Emeritus of Jazz Piano, Rutgers University,
NEA Jazz Master award recipient

maynardferguson“Earl is not only an excellent pianist, improvisor and accompanist, but he displays arranging skills with depth reminiscent of Don Sebesky, Mike Abene and Slide Hampton.”

Maynard Ferguson (June 2000)
Trumpeter, Band Leader;
Concord Recording Artist

marianmcpartland“I recently heard a fine young pianist, Earl MacDonald. I’m sure that with the many attributes he has – excellent technique, touch and harmonic sophistication, he will be very successful in his career. He is also a talented composer, and his tune “Schroeder’s Tantrum”, is a prime example of his originality and humor. I wish him well.”

Marian McPartland (May 31 1998)
NPR radio host of “Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz”,
NEA Jazz Master award recipient

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