BIOGRAPHY

Whether playing Lead alto with The Count Basie Orchestra in venues all over the world, or playing tenor saxophone with Paquito D’Rivera or baritone saxophone with Abdullah Ibrahim or clarinet solos with The Duke Ellington Orchestra, Marshall McDonald upholds the traditions of Jazz Music created by the jazz masters. A seasoned reedman, having played 30 years in the New York City area, he is well known for his ability to play all of the saxophones and woodwinds.

Marshall was offered the baritone saxophone chair with the great Lionel Hampton in 1991, a position he quickly accepted and toured the world with Lionel, playing jazz festivals and concerts in The United States, Europe, Canada, South America and Asia.

 Marshall toured and recorded with Paquito D’Rivera and the United Nation Orchestra on alto, tenor, soprano and baritone for 4 years. During this time he also played alto saxophone with The Illinois Jacquet Big Band, lead alto with The Charli Persip Supersound Band, tenor saxophone with The Bobby Caldwell Band in New York City, and alto saxophone with The Chico O’Farrill Orchestra. Playing with Chico O’Farrill led to a close up in the Pierce Brosnan movie, The Thomas Crown Affair during the famous ballroom dance scene, and participation in the historic jazz movie, Calle 54. In addition, Marshall was asked to play lead alto by Frank Foster and the Loud Minority Big Band.

Marshall has been a full time member of The Count Basie Orchestra for 15 years, the last ten of which has found him holding down the lead alto sax chair famously held by the great Marshal Royal. He first started in the band underneath lead alto player, Danny Turner, and Mr. Turner explained to him, “The style of lead playing in the Basie band was passed down from Marshal Royal to Bobby Plater and then to me.” Marshall had studied the Basie style while in music school at University of Pittsburgh, and now he was getting first hand knowledge from Danny Turner, Frank Foster, Kenny Hing and John Williams.

Marshall began by playing clarinet at age 10, with his first years of studies on classical clarinet with Principal Clarinetist Thomas Thompson of The Pittsburgh Symphony at Carnegie-Mellon University, continuing with William Balawadjer of Carnegie-Mellon University for 6 years and for 2 years with Paris Conservatory graduate Nestor Koval at Duquesne University.

Marshall has played soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophone with the giants of music including Tony Bennett, Milt Jackson, Nina Simone, Freddie Hubbard, Rosemary Clooney, Frank Foster, Frank Wess, Charli Persip, Gerry Mulligan, Pete Christlieb, Diane Schuur, Bill Waltrous, Ronnie Cuber, Illinois Jacquet, Doc Cheatham, Ray Brown, Art Farmer, Hank Jones, Elvin Jones, Patti Austin, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Bobby Watson, Jon Hendricks, Geri Allen, Aretha Franklin, The Four Tops, Frankie Avalon, The Dells, The Temptations, Melba Moore, Wynton Marsalis, Jon Faddis, George Benson, Bob Berg, Paquito D’Rivera, Chico O’Farrill, Steve Turre, Lizz Wright, Jamie Callum, Ledisi and many others.

“Marshall McDonald is an EXCELLENT musician.  Great lead alto player and great tenor player. He is a First Class musician.”  –Vincent Herring

“Marshall has that pure clarinet sound!  He has that sound of the symphony players!”  —Lionel Hampton

“I find Marshall McDonald to be one of the finest musicians that I know.  His work in my band is always excellent!” —Charli Persip

“Marshall McDonald is the REAL DEAL.”   —Tim Price

“Marshall is the only guy I know who has played 4 of the 5 sax chairs in the Basie band, and all 5 of the sax chairs in the Ellington band”  —Basie baritone sax veteran John Williams

Performances

Carnegie Hall – New York City
The Kennedy Center
The Sydney Opera House
Royal Albert Hall
Walt Disney Concert Hall
Dewan Philharmonik Hall Kuala Lumpur
Esplanade Concert Hall Singapore
Bunkyo Hall Tokyo
Hollywood Bowl – Los Angeles
The Newport Jazz Festival
The Monterey Jazz Festival
The Montreal Jazz Festival
The Toronto Jazz Festival
The Nice Jazz Festival
The JVC Jazz Festival
The Playboy Jazz Festival
The Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival
Aoyama Jazz Initiative
Blue Note New York
Blue Note Tokyo
Blue Note Osaka
Blue Note Fukuoka
Blue Note Milan
Cotton Club – New York
Cotton Club – Tokyo
Birdland New York City
Small’s Jazz Club New York City
The Iridium Jazz Club New York City
Smoke Jazz Club New York City
Tokyo TUC – Tokyo
Motion Blue – Tokyo
Yoshi’s Jazz Club Oakland, California

Teaching and Clinic Experience

University of Pittsburgh-Undergraduate Teaching Assistant
Gines Cano Music School Faculty
Syracuse University Jazz Clinic
Master Class at Tokyo Fuchu Daini Elementary School, Tokyo
Japan Jazz Clinic Senzoku University
Master Class Elementary and High Schools Anchorage,  Alaska
Master Classs Johannesburg, South Africa
Master Class Jazz Clinic Taipei, Taiwan
Master Class Clarinet, Vancouver, Canada
Master Jazz Class, University of Virginia
Master Sax Clinic, Waseda University
Master Big Band Clinic Big Wing Orchestra
Master Big Band Class Waseda High Society Orchestra
2010 NAMM clinician and artist – Aizen Mouthpieces
2011 NAMM clinician and artist – Yanagisawa Saxophones
2012 NAMM clinician and artist – Yanagisawa Saxophones
2011 Muzik Messe clinician and artist – Aizen Mouthpieces