Earl MacDonald

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Earl Murray MacDonald
Born (1970-07-26) July 26, 1970 (age 44)
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Genres Jazz, big band, orchestral jazz
Occupation(s) Composer, arranger, conductor, recording artist, university professor
Instruments Piano
Years active 1995–present
Labels Death Defying Records, Sea Breeze Jazz
Associated acts Big Bop Nouveau, Hartford Jazz Society's New Directions Ensemble
Website earlmacdonald.com

Earl MacDonald (born July 26, 1970[1]), is a music arranger, composer, jazz pianist and music educator. Director of jazz studies at the University of Connecticut,[2] the Winnipeg native earned a bachelor of music degree in jazz performance at McGill University and a master of music degree at Rutgers, where he apprenticed with Kenny Barron.[3] Earl is dedicated to music education, participating as a clinician, guest conductor and teacher at summer camps, in addition to his teaching at the University of Connecticut.

The UConn Chapter of the American Association of University Professors honored MacDonald with its 2006 Excellence Award for Teaching Innovation.[4] From 1998 to 2000, MacDonald was the musical director, pianist, and arranger for the Maynard Ferguson Big Bop Nouveau band.[5] As music director he was responsible for programming and rehearsing this world renowned ensemble. In 2002, MacDonald won the Sammy Nestico Award,[6] for outstanding big band arranging. He has since been selected as a finalist for 2007 BMI / Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Award and the 2008 ArtEZ Composition Contest in the Netherlands.

A former participant in the BMI Jazz Composers' Workshop in New York City, MacDonald is a member of the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN). His compositions for 17-piece jazz ensemble are featured on UConn Jazz, recorded by the University of Connecticut Jazz Ensemble in 2002,[7] as well as his latest disc, re: Visions,[8] which was nominated for a 2011 Juno award in the Traditional Jazz Album of the Year category.[9] His sextet, the Earl MacDonald 6 won first place in the 2004 Hartford Advocate Reader's Poll for "best jazz group."[10] Their debut recording, Echoes In The Night received critical acclaim.[11][12][13][14][15]

MacDonald currently serves as Musical Director and Composer-In-Residence for the Hartford Jazz Society’s New Directions Ensemble. Owen McNally of the Hartford Courant described the band and outlined its mission, stating "the fresh-sounding New Directions Ensemble taps into the rich lode of area talent, provides a vital forum for original compositions, spreads the good word about contemporary band music in its educational role, and provides a prominent public face for its sponsor, the Hartford Jazz Society. The New Directions Ensemble is set to swing in its own fresh way, generating contemporary band music that lives in the present, independent, cliché-free and untethered to conventional big band nostalgia."[16]

In 2011, he won Best Jazz Song at the 10th Annual Independent Music Awards for "Bad Dream".

Selected discography[edit]

Death Defying Records.
recorded: November 2008 at Bennett Studios, Englewood, NJ.
features: Tim Ries, Marc Phaneuf, Ralph Bowen, Jim Brenan, Steve Kenyon, Nick Marchione, Michael Philip Mossman, Pete Rodriguez, Joe Magnarelli, Bruce Eidem, Mark Patterson, Craig Brenan, Douglas Purviance, Pete McCann, Kenny Davis, & Jordan Perlson.
SeaBreeze Records.
features: Dick Oatts (as), Joe Magnarelli (trpt), Steve Davis (tbn), Dave Santoro (b), Tom Melito (dr).
recorded: January 2004.
Paradise Media Partners.
recorded: October 2, 1998
Treblemakers Children's Choir, directed by Dr. Mary Ellen Junda
SeaBreeze Vista Records: SBV-4550
recorded: April 2002.
Concord Records, Inc.: CCD-4869-2
recorded: August 1999 at Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA.
  • 1998 – Jim Brenan – Jim Brenan
independent release: 3BCD-01
Radioland: RACD 10008
features: Ralph Bowen (ts), Kevin Dean (trpt), Mike Downes (b), Ted Warren (dr).
recorded: June 1996.
Verve 522 364-2.
Kenny Barron (piano), Charlie Haden (bass) and Roy Haynes (drums).
Earl MacDonald composed the title track, "Wanton Spirit".
recorded: February 1994.
Nominated for a Grammy award.[24]


  1. ^ All About Jazz. "Earl MacDonald | Jazz | Composer/conductor/leader". Allaboutjazz.com. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Earl MacDonald | Department of Music | UConn". Music.uconn.edu. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  3. ^ All About Jazz (April 15, 2010). "Earl MacDonald | Re:Visions". Allaboutjazz.com. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  4. ^ "UConn Advance – April 24, 2006 – AAUP announces awards for excellence". Advance.uconn.edu. April 24, 2006. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  5. ^ "MaynardFerguson.com". MaynardFerguson.com. June 4, 2000. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  6. ^ "The United States Air Force Band – Sammy Nestico Award". Usafband.af.mil. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  7. ^ Bauman, David (September 29, 2003). "Award-Winning UConn Jazz Ensemble Releases First Compact Disc – September 29, 2003". Advance.uconn.edu. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Reviews". jazzweekly.com. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  9. ^ "JUNO Awards". Junoawards.ca. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  10. ^ "UConn Advance – September 20, 2004 – Activities and Achievements". Advance.uconn.edu. September 20, 2004. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  11. ^ All About Jazz (August 31, 2005). "The Earl MacDonald 6 | Echoes in the Night". Allaboutjazz.com. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  12. ^ [1][dead link]
  13. ^ http://www.jazzreview.com/cd/review-16626.html
  14. ^ All About Jazz (May 16, 2005). "The Earl MacDonald 6 | Echoes in the Night". Allaboutjazz.com. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  15. ^ http://www.jazznow.com/1105/1105NS/NSEarlMc.html
  16. ^ "Earl MacDonald And Friends at Szechuan Tokyo – Hartford Courant". Articles.courant.com. January 20, 2011. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  17. ^ Bang, Ric (August 5, 2010). "Earl MacDonald: Re Visions". Jazz Scan. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  18. ^ All About Jazz (May 18, 2010). "Earl MacDonald | Re:Visions". Allaboutjazz.com. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  19. ^ All About Jazz (May 2, 2010). "Earl MacDonald | Re: Visions". Allaboutjazz.com. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  20. ^ All About Jazz (April 17, 2010). "Earl MacDonald | Re: Visions". Allaboutjazz.com. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Jazz Tasting Menu". marksaleski.com. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  22. ^ "Earl MacDonald | Re:VISIONS «". Theurbanflux.wordpress.com. March 30, 2010. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  23. ^ "May 2010 – Jazz Inside Magazine". Jazzinsidemagazine.com. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  24. ^ "Kenny Barron". Kenny Barron. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 

External links[edit]