Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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MacDonald, Kirk (Arthur)

MacDonald, Kirk (Arthur), tenor and soprano saxophonist, composer, educator; b. Sydney, Nova Scotia, 2 October 1959.

MacDonald began studying the saxophone at the age of 10. In high school he studied saxophone, clarinet, flute, and musical theory and composition, directed by Terry Hill. In 1973, MacDonald began private instruction in classical saxophone with Bruce McKinley; and in the summer of 1975, he attended the Berklee School of Music in Boston. From 1975-1977, MacDonald studied privately with noted Canadian alto saxophonist Don Palmer. In 1977 he entered Humber College in Toronto. During his college years, MacDonald studied with Pat Labarbera and in the summer of 1981 with George Coleman in New York City. With funding from the Canada Council for the Arts, he studied improvisation with Lee Konitz. In 1992, with further assistance from the Canada Council, he studied composition with Gary Dial.

From 1978-1987, MacDonald was a member of the Toronto-based Latin nonet called Manteca (with whom he recorded in 1980) and also worked with trumpeter Sam Noto, drummer Claude Ranger and bassist Dave Young. From 1985-1991, he played in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police band, gigging intermittently in Montreal and Toronto. MacDonald was instructor of Jazz Saxophone at Ottawa University from 1987-1991 and held similar positions concurrently at McGill University in Montreal (1988-1989) and Carelton University in Ottawa (1989-1992).  Following his release from the RCMP, MacDonald continued to work with Sam Noto, guitarist Lorne Lofsky and pianist Doug Riley while forming his own groups. Continuing his role as educator and clinician, MacDonald was again appointed instructor of Jazz Saxophone at Carelton University (1996-1998), and from 1993 has been instructor of saxophone, improvisation, ensembles and ear training at the University of Toronto. MacDonald has served as a clinician at Canada's major jazz schools and camps, including: York University (Toronto); Creative Music Workshop (Halifax); Grant McEwan College (Edmonton); Humber College (Toronto); Dalhousie University (Halifax); McGill University; and the National Music Camp (Orillia, Ontario), where since 1993 he has been a member of the teaching staff. In January 1997 and January 1998, MacDonald held the position of Artist in Residence at St. Francis Xavier University (Antigonish, Nova Scotia) and has been a clinician at the Seoul Jazz Academy in South Korea.  MacDonald has performed with such players as Phil Woods, Claude Ranger, Pat Labarbera, Dave Young, Sam Noto, Jerry Fuller, P.J. Perry, Sonny Greenwich, Bob Mover, Lorne Lofsky, Kenny Wheeler, Eddie Henderson, Harold Mabern, Walter Bishop, Jr. and John Taylor. MacDonald has appeared on more than 30 recordings, has been featured at the major Canadian jazz festivals and has performed in the United States, Australia, Spain, Italy and Korea.

New Beginnings; The Atlantic Sessions; Reminiscence; The Revellers; Pure and Simple; Kirk MacDonald and John Taylor
As sideperson:
Maritime Jazz Orchestra: Now and Again; Andre White Band: Signal; Marc Jordon: This Is How Men Cry; Tony Quarrington: One Bright Morning; Chris Mitchell Quintet: Spectrum; Sam Noto Quintet: Now Hear This; Bernie Senensky: New Horizons; Chris Mitchell, featuring Phil Woods: The Witches of Red Beard; Dave Hutchinson: Out On a Limb; Kingsley Etienne: Steppin' Out; Pat Belliveau: La Zona Blanca; Ken Skinner: Sterling Silver; Maritime Jazz Orchestra: Siren's Song; Various Artists: The Power of Beauty--A Tribute to Stan Getz; Kieran Overs: Shapeshift; Liberty Silver: Live in Session; Bill King and the Jazz Report All Stars: Moment's Notice; Manteca: Manteca; Joe Coughlin: Second Debut; Nancy Walker: Levitation; Tony Quarrington: Group of Seven; Lorne Lofsky Quartet; Gene Smith Quintet.

Works by MacDonald
The Kirk MacDonald Songbook (J&W Music).

Works About MacDonald
The Jazz Report Magazine, profile of Kirk MacDonald, summer edition 1995; The Globe and Mail, profile of Kirk MacDonald, Aug. 1991; "Kirk MacDonald: ACanadian Jazz Leader," MediaPipe (online feature article).

Awards and Nominations:
As leader:
Winner, 2002 Monaco's 4eme Concours International de Soliste de Jazz; nominee, 2001 Juno Award, Best Mainstream Jazz Album, New Beginnings; nominee, 2001 Canadian Indie Music Award, Best Jazz Recording, New Beginnings; winner, 1999 Juno Award, Best Mainstream Jazz Album, The Atlantic Sessions; winner, 1999 Jazz Report Awards, Album of the Year, The Atlantic Sessions; winner, 1999 Jazz Report Awards, Tenor Saxophonist of the Year
With Other Artists:
Nominee, 2001 Juno Award, Best Vocal Jazz, Marc Jordon, "This Is How Men Cry" (Blue Note); nominee, 2000 Juno Award, Best Mainstream Jazz Album, Bernie Senensky, "New Horizons" (Timeless); nominee, 1999 Juno Award, Best Mainstream Jazz Album, Maritime Jazz Orchestra, Siren's Song;; 1999 Montreal Jazz Festival Prix de Jazz, Chris Mitchell Quintet.

Contact information:

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