August 7, 2020

The Arrangers Podcast Episode 29: Earl MacDonald Interview Pt.1 (Maynard Ferguson, Kenny Barron, UConn Jazz Studies)

Edited by Thomas Lahren (

Earl MacDonald’s seemingly inexhaustible commitment to the jazz art form is apparent in his performing, composing and teaching. The former musical director and pianist for Maynard Ferguson serves as the Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Connecticut and teaches annually at UMass Amherst’s Jazz in July program.

The Winnipeg native earned a bachelor of music degree in jazz performance at McGill University and a Master’s degree at Rutgers, where he apprenticed with Kenny Barron.

A recipient of the Sammy Nestico Award for outstanding big band arranging, MacDonald has released five albums as a bandleader; two of which earned JUNO nominations for jazz album of the year. For his chamber jazz explorations on “Mirror of the Mind”, MacDonald was described as “a magical, musical alchemist of hip hybrids” (Owen McNally, Hartford Courant). Similarly, his large ensemble project, “Re:Visions” was touted as having “gone beyond where most big bands go, establishing Earl MacDonald as a major force in the world of jazz composition” (Dan Bilawsky,

Visit MacDonald’s web site,, where you can take a free online lesson, read articles and reviews, hear his music, peruse his blog, and learn more about Earl MacDonald’s performances, teaching, and latest projects.

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