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Curtis MacDonald -][- COMMUNITY IMMUNITY – [Greenleaf Music, 2011] Music Review

Saxophonist Greg Osby said, “Curtis MacDonald is a saxophonist of note, one who is worthy of great recognition.”

From the meeting, it was obvious within a lingering few notes of “COMMUNITY IMMUNITY” Curtis MacDonald was here to solidify his presence as a composer and saxophonist to immediately challenge virtually any new and seasoned jazz enthusiast who dare travel this path with this intriguing, young and inventive artist from Alberta, Canada.

Currently residing in New York, MacDonald debuts with the innovative yet fundamentally sound “COMMUNITY IMMUNITY” on Greenleaf Music. The album title derives from the idea of belonging to a community of talented musicians, this of course is crucial particularly for aspiring musicians.

While listening to this auspicious array of songs by MacDonald, I noticed the selections composed by him are very short in length. Maybe it’s a standard or unwritten rule for artists in this genre to record songs that are decidedly longer. Nonetheless, MacDonald was obviously moved to do otherwise and focus more on substance whether then appearance which is a quite refreshing approach to recording modern jazz and improvised music that boldly reflects the energy of his creative soul.

The discipline MacDonald artistically allows space for his comrades to spread and flex their musicality on “Childhood Sympathy” which is noticeably framed in attractive sequences that are conducive to heartfelt message which spreads from the center of this piece and remaining compositions throughout this kaleidoscopic canvas of inviting music.

“Figmentum II, Second Guessing and Mosaic I” serve as culprits in the scheme of things compositionally. Contextually the unique synergy by the ensemble is divulge through varied impetuous components spoken in expressive tones, emotion and transcending patterns eventually bulge beyond unmatched intensity anchored to the sobering phrases, and colors on the untamed “Mosaic I.”

In the mist of “Community Immunity,” you’ll discover a unique, unreserved and cohesive narrative which employs MacDonald’s virtuosity. He incorporates a rare combination of interactive shapes, complexities and unrefined vigor escalates from within the core of this untarnished soundscape. Moreover, after a few spins it’s easy to hear why the gifted McDonald graduated cum laude at New School University in 2007. Amazingly, his colleagues bring their introspective interplay which mirrors the eloquence and spirit he garnered from his earlier influences are unleashed through the fabric of these adventurous and unexpected compositions. —Rob Young

Curtis MacDonald – alto saxophone, Chris Tordini – bass, Greg Ritchie – drums, Jeremy Viner – tenor sax & clarinet 7, David Virelles – piano (1,3,7,8,9,10), Michal Vanoucek – piano (2,4,6), Travis Reuter – acoustic & electric guitars 3, Becca Stevens – voice 5, and Andrea Tynic – violin 5, produced, all compositions composed by Curtis Robert MacDonald