With his latest CD, "It’s A Blue World” on the Blujazz label, guitarist Doug MacDonald is once again presented in his original setting of the guitar trio. Throughout his recording career, starting in the 1980s (see “Discography"), MacDonald has never been afraid to try new approaches to his music, for example on the 2009 Fourth Stream, subtitled The Jazz Coalition With Strings. In between, he has been heard on Sea Breeze, Resurgent and the Cexton labels, usually in the company of such contemporaries as pianist Ross Tompkins, bassist Ray Brown and drummer, Jake Hanna.
A long-time resident of Los Angeles, MacDonald was born in Philadelphia and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, leaving in 1982 to pursue the mainland’s broader music opportunities. Since then, he has created a kind of “portable” career for himself, on the West Coast, New York, Las Vegas and, more recently, internationally.
He has been well featured as a sideman in live performances with Stan Getz, George Shearing, Joe Williams, Sarah Vaughan, Buddy Rich, Scott Hamilton, Richard Groove Holmes, Ray Charles, Rosemary Clooney among others. He has recorded with a virtual who’s who of jazz, including Jack Sheldon, Hank Jones, Bob Cooper, Snooky Young, Bill Holman and the Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra.
Commenting on the latest CD, Doug said: “The guitar trio is a very natural setting, lending itself to creative interplay and a type of synergy between the players. The team of Lou Shoch on bass and Jack LeCompte on drums is invaluable. Both give a great performance and provide a tremendous input towards the project. The difference in this format from previous projects is the unusual approach of free horizontal compositional and arranging techniques.
“The guitarist has complete freedom with just the bass and drums. The rhythm section without piano has the open space to breathe uncluttered, refreshing air. Swing and groove are paramount on this disc. We must also mention the blues feel that runs throughout this type of jazz. This style and sound is of an earlier era, but hugely important in today’s interpretations.”
That last comment neatly sums up this guitarist’s whole persona, since he confesses that he grew up listening to a whole cadre of “old-timers,” such as Charlie Christian, Johnny Smith, Jim Hall, Wes Montgomery, et al. He naturally evolved from those early influences to a more modern mien, subsequently tackling writing and arranging for the big band.