Kirk MacDonald

New Beginnings

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Saxophonist Kirk MacDonald's 1998 studio sessions on this Radioland CD primarily feature a septet, with the leader heard on both tenor and alto, in a program consisting of fresh originals in a post-bop setting. Accompanying the Canadian are some of his homeland's finest jazz musicians: trumpeter and flugelhornist Rob Smith, guitarist Lorne Lofsky, bassist Neil Swainson, drummer Jerry Fuller, and pianist Brian Dickinson. His racehorse opener, "On the Sierra Nevada," gets the band off to a flying start. The sad but hopeful tone of his ballad "Lament for a Better Tomorrow" showcases his powerful tenor and Smith's rich-toned trumpet in a moving performance. The two quintet tracks, MacDonald's constantly shifting "Sideways" and Swainson's haunting "Miles From Anywhere," omit the leader's overdubbed alto and Smith's presence. Although this rewarding CD may not be easy to find outside of Canada, it is available through several websites, including the artist's own at