Doug MacDonald & The Tarmac Ensemble: Live At Hangar 18 – Jazz Marathon 4

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This is the fourth in a series featuring a number of musicians from southern California brought together by guitarist MacDonald and the brainchild of local enthusiast Don Thomson, who had engineered similar sessions in Hawaii. Apart from the solo-guitar rendition of I Thought About You, the band is a quintet or septet.

On the face of it this might be regarded as a straight-ahead jam session but carries an air of organisation often lacking in such affairs. Apart from a couple of MacDonald originals, the tunes will be familiar to the majority of jazz followers and meet varying fates at the hands of these musicians. For instance, how many people would applaud taking My Foolish Heart at a much faster lick than is normal?

The assembled throng come with varied pedigree, McCurdy having been Cannonball Adderley’s drummer for many years and Woodard being ex-Ray Charles Orchestra, not to mention being no stranger to the Peterborough Jazz Club in the UK during the 90s.

The music, recorded over four sets, differs in intensity from piece to piece, the solos occasionally lifting the mood, with Richmond and Woodard being the main men responsible. A mention should also be made of pianist Joe Bagg who does a great job on an instrument needing a visit from the piano tuner.

There is nothing here to get excited about but the project has an admirable honesty about it.

Discography
CD1: San Fernando Blvd; Dreamsville; Lollipops And Roses; I Thought About You; With The Wind And The Rain In Her Hair; Maiden Voyage; Pennies From Heaven; Nobody Else But Me (54.09)
CD2: LL; Strike Up The Band; Someone To Light Up My Life; Make Believe; Body And Soul; My Foolish Heart; Where Or When; Tune Up (50.22)

Collective personnel: Doug MacDonald (g); Charlie Shoemake (vib); Joe Bagg (p); Harvey Newmark (b); Kendall Kay (d); Kim Richmond (as, f); Ron Stout (t); Ira Nepus ( tb); Rickey Woodard (ts); John B Williams (b); Roy McCurdy (d). Los Angeles, Ca., 18 July 2019.
DMAC Music DM16