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Doug MacDonald: Blue Capers

Another fine regional player is L.A.-based Doug MacDonald, who, for the most part, swings his way through his Blue Capers (Sea Breeze). Throughout, the veteran rhythm section (pianist Art Hillery, bassist John Heard, drummer Johnny Kirkwood) anchors the tunes, a mix of standards, obscure numbers and a couple of originals.

The set opens with a brisk reading of Blue Mitchell’s “Blue Capers,” a rhythm changes workout that displays MacDonald’s grooving blues approach and agility when it comes to negotiating rapidly moving chords. Other tunes that reveal the guitarist’s penchant for swinging grooves include “Bluesology” and “A Little Tutu.” The program’s Brazilian numbers provide a change of pace that provide forums for some nice, bluesy single-note and chord work. Unfortunately, the recording is a bit sonically uneven from track to track, and the program loses momentum from time to time, especially during slower tunes like the solo guitar reading of “What’s New” and “Ori’s Theme,” which, while featuring some nice moments, comes off as overly stark. Nothing ground-breaking, cutting-edge or arty here, just some nice examples of solid mainstream swinging in the tradition of guys like Herb Ellis, Kenny Burrell and Johnny Smith.

Originally Published