The Coachella Valley Trio: Mid Century Modern


The Coachella Valley Trio’s home city is Palm Springs, a much-visited place that’s noted for its mid-century modern architecture. In a sense, this album is a paean to the resort and its vibe. Its heyday was from the 40s going into the 60s – much like modern jazz – and the design aesthetic is typically characterised by clean, simple lines, honest use of materials, and it generally does not include decorative embellishments.

That’s what Wiki says and the description actually suits this guitar trio’s modus operandi. Across seven standards and four decent MacDonald originals, the music warms like wafts of breeze from the Coachella Valley desert, pleasing to the ear.

Simultaneously laid-back and focused, MacDonald leads throughout, combining a burnished tone with fleet technique. An empathetic and attentive rhythm section buoy the sound beautifully.

One divergence from the mid-century modern ethos is the mischievous addition of an African djembe drum in the mix on six tracks. But throughout, it’s really a perfect soundtrack to play in your convertible as you drive under the palm trees towards the golf club.

My Shining Hour; Lance Or Lot; Cat City Samba; Tram Jam; What’s New; Give Me The Simple Life; Stranger In Paradise; I Hadn’t Anyone Till You; Woody N You; Bossa Nueva; The Way You Look Tonight (42.00)
Doug MacDonald (g); Larry Holloway (b); Tim Pleasant (d); Big Black (djembe). Palm Springs, November 2019.