Press Quotes

Press Quotes, listed by album:


Open Borders (2017)The album cover for "Open Borders," by jazz pianist, Earl MacDonald


“The leader’s gifts with the pen are apparent, as the sound of ten can balloon to the sonic proportions of twenty or fold inward to sound like a small combo.”

~ Dan Bilawsky, All-About-Jazz


“Diversity, dynamism, and equilibrium are fundamental aspects in Earl MacDonald’s music-making. These eleven stylishly orchestrated pieces are a pure reflection of his musical capabilities.”

~ Filipe Freitas,


“Man oh man, do these arrangements crackle with spirit! From the high-flying ‘Dig In Buddy’ to the exhilarating Latin flavors ‘Dolphy Dance,’ MacDonald’s prodigious gifts as an arranger shine.”

~ Mike Jurkovic, All-About-Jazz


“This is inspired playing that really delivers the goods well. Hot stuff throughout.”

~ Chris Spector, Midwest Record


“On pense souvent à Oliver Nelson en écoutant les arrangements pour cet ensemble. Beau son d’orchestre avec une certaine énergie et solistes pertinents.”

Translation: One often thinks of Oliver Nelson while listening to the arrangements for this ensemble. Beautiful orchestral sounds with a certain energy and relevant soloists.

~ Thierry Giard, Culture Jazz, France


“. . . dexterous soloists amplify MacDonald’s invariably sharp and engaging charts. . . well-drawn and listenable contemporary jazz of the first order.”

~ Jack Bowers, All-About-Jazz

Mirror of the Mind (2013)The album cover for "Mirror Of The Mind," a recording by jazz pianist, Earl MacDonald


Mirror Of The Mind, from pianist Earl MacDonald and the Creative Opportunity Workshop, is an album that surprises and delights—from the
unusual piano, cello, sax and percussion line-up to the mix of styles and inspirations that influence MacDonald’s writing.”

~ Bruce Lindsay, All About Jazz


Mirror of the Mind is another great installment in the interesting, endeavors and ever-growing catalog of pianist/composer Earl MacDonald. Chamber Jazz at its best.”

~ H. Allen Williams, Jazz Times


“Pianist Earl MacDonald succeeds in carving out a brand new niche for himself separating his past from this new vision of jazz yet to be clearly defined. A clever and innovative production from one of the most accomplished pianists in the business, Mirror of the Mind is truly a challenging listen taking jazz to a different level, one in which pianist Earl MacDonald and his Creative Opportunity Workshop are the pioneers.”

~ Edward Blanco, All About Jazz


“A magical, musical alchemist of hip hybrids, Earl MacDonald, the Canadian-born, Connecticut-based pianist, composer, arranger, bandleader and educator, has created yet another visionary, surprise-filled work with the release of his new CD, ‘Mirror of the Mind,’ featuring his hand-picked jazz chamber group, the Creative Opportunity Workshop.”

~ Owen McNally, The Hartford Courant

Re:Visions (2010)The album cover for "Re:Visions," a big band recording produced by jazz pianist, Earl MacDonald


“Every single track has been carefully thought out and there’s zero rambling or solo padding.”

~ Marc Myers, Jazz Wax


Re:Visions goes beyond where most big bands go and the music here establishes Earl MacDonald as a major force in the world of jazz composition.”

~ Dan Bilawsky, All About Jazz


“Pianist-composer-arranger Earl MacDonald is in the strictest sense of the word an artistic visionary.”

~ George W. Carrol,

“The music sounds fresh and innovative in its own individualistic way as MacDonald, in his forward-thinking signature approach, perpetually pushes the envelope while simultaneously keeping his message lucid and accessible. His music comes out sounding smart and swinging.”

~ Owen McNally, Hartford Courant

“Earl MacDonald leads this band with some very clever original compositions and arrangements that provide some wonderful harmonies while also giving enough elbow room for the soloists.”

~ George W. Harris, Jazz Weekly (


“Oh my, how it swings!. . . Don’t miss this album; its a shining example of big band jazz at its finest.”

~ Ric Bang, The Davis Enterprise


“Every track on this kick-ass CD engages the ear differently.”

~ Calgary Herald

“Seldom have twenty or so musicians had so much to revel in and as each of the nine tunes go by you hear some beautiful sounds in the best of combinations, maximizing the potential of modern jazz orchestra arranging and playing.”

~ Bob Gish, Jazz Inside™ Monthly (

“The music on “Re:VISIONS” has volumes of complex shapes and patterns transforming this mesmerizing recording into near perfect symmetry through the vessel of improvisation, elegant arrangements and impressive musicianship by an artist who fully understands the art of making music.”

~ Rob Young, The Urban Flux

Echoes In The Night (2005)The album cover for "Echoes In the Night," by jazz pianist, Earl MacDonald


“The debut CD of the Earl MacDonald 6, Echoes In The Night, is a classy recording with excellent ensemble playing, interesting arrangements, and well-crafted solos. The ensemble’s conceptual approach to its music provides a strong unifying feature throughout the CD and makes for an interesting, as well as, enjoyable listening experience.”

~ Frank Bongiorno, Saxophone Journal


“Sea Breeze is a fine mainstream label that deserves recognition for putting out Echoes In The Night by the talented pianist Earl MacDonald and his new sextet. The music is very ingratiating and delightful, if not startlingly original.”

~ Budd Kopman,


“Jazz pianist, educator, & composer Earl MacDonald has assembled six extremely talented players, gifted in the art of expressing jazz with his current CD effort, ‘Echoes In The Night.’ The overall artistic contour of the disc is as smooth as it gets for the bebop idiom. . . all accented by unexpected counterpoint and tons of interesting rhythmic variety. I sense an attempt by the group to create a hybrid jazz form. If I’m on the right track, I feel their pursuit is a worthy goal. Last, may I say that the group’s extemporaneous musical expression of ideas, emotions, and their life experiences are exemplified quite well in the delivery of their total musical offering.”

~ George W. Carrol,


“Jazz mainstreamers will find this music delightfully approachable . . . avant garde lovers will delight in the subtle way these players stray again and again from dyed in-the-wool generic sounds.”

~ Paul Lewis,


“The inspired solo work flows from the clever writing contained in Earl MacDonald’s charts, and the smooth overall aspect of the music is both swinging and tuneful. Nice sounds with excellent solos and a hip rhythm section.”

~ Al Merritt,


“The sound of this sextet is unique and if they strived for originality, they achieved it with total success. 4 Stars.”

~ John Gilbert,


“This group works a well-worn field but they do it with style and intelligence.”

~ Jerome Wilson, Cadence Magazine, The Review of Jazz & Blues: Creative Improvised Music

Schroeder’s Tantrum (1997)The album cover for "Schroeder's Tantrum" a CD by jazz pianist, Earl MacDonald


“This is a rare debut session that shows great promise and great achievement. Not surprisingly, MacDonald’s own playing seems to probe the deepest spirit of the works.”

~ David Dupont, Cadence Magazine


“MacDonald makes a confident first impression with his writing. Everything seems to sit well with his musicians.”

~ Mark Miller, Toronto Globe and Mail


“It’s not just the way he plays but the way he writes. Earl MacDonald channels his arresting chops into intriquing melodies that hold your hearing even as your foot taps into overtime. The floating charms of ‘Wanton Spirit’ and the Monkish wit of ‘Schroeder’s Tantrum’ mark only two aspects of MacDonald’s lively imagination. In the near future we’ll hear even more; stick around.”

~ Randal McIllroy, Coda Magazine


“Earl has a quality and tone that is truly distinctive. His compositions are imaginative and to top it off, he plays with intellect, passion and most importantly, creativity.”

~ Ross Porter, Canadian former broadcast executive, producer & radio host (CBC Radio Two and JAZZ FM91)


“With all due respect to Earl’s powerful pianistic prowess, it is his compositional character that will distinguish this serious artist from the rest of the crowd. Reminiscent of the heyday of BlueNote creations, originals deserving wider recognition include ‘The Din of Strife,’ ‘Multiple J’s,’ the challenging ‘Schroeder’s Tantrum,’ and Kenny Barron’s favorite, the beguiling ‘Wanton Spirit’ – and what whets Barron’s appetite will undoubtedly capture the imagination of many others.”

~ Ray Alexander, Jazz Report Magazine

Comments are closed.