Mama Knows Everything

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Welcome to my new website!  It's a work in progress, I will be adding practice and study materials, stories from the road, life ideas, photos of the cats I met, and all sorts of rants about everything!

I just had a kickin' jazz hit in Tokyo Japan with The Marshall McDonald Jazz Project, with David Berkman, piano, Pat Glynn, bass, and Gene Jackson on drums at the B Flat Club in Akasaka Tokyo.  And another gig at Momose Shokudo with Bison Katayama on drums replacing Gene Jackson.  Just met David Berkman a couple of months ago, man, that cat can play, I look forward to hitting with him again, back in the States and in Japan.  Below are some photos from the B Flat Club courtesy of Etsuko Iida.

Benny Golson talks about Clifford Brown, live at Tokyo Blue Note 

This is a transcription of an intimate moment with Benny Golson at The Tokyo Blue Note, while he spoke of some of his memories of jazz and Clifford Brown.  Mr. Golson was ailing with a hand injury, just as he finished a tune written by Clifford, he started talking about his memories of Clifford.

Benny Golson speaking.....“That was Clifford Brown, as a composer.  You know, I’m from Philadelphia, back in the states, and years and years ago we used to have our jam sessions on Saturday.  And we were all teenagers, 16, 17 or 18, and we all knew each other because we were always at the jam sessions every Saturday.  And when we played a tune, there were so many of us there, that tune lasted an hour.  And then one Saturday, while we were playing, a stranger came in, and we didn’t know who he was.  And he had a trumpet under his arm.  Who was this guy?  Well eventually he started to play, and when he played, he sounded better than us!  Who was this guy?  It turned out to be Clifford Brown.  Of course, he had come from Wilmington, Delaware, to Philadelphia, 30 miles, to join our jam session.  Oh boy.  And incidentally, nobody called him Clifford in those days, everybody called him, Brownie.  Brownie is in town, with his trumpet…oh yeah….And you know time goes by, and you lose track of people, whatever happened to Brownie? 

Brownie turned up in New York City….. on a recording, it was an all-star recording, what was it called?  It was called…“Friday Night at Birdland”, and who was on that recording, let me see.  Horace Silver was on piano, and Lou Donaldson, alto saxophone, Curly Russell, bass.  Hank Mobley, tenor, and Art Blakey on drums, whoaaa, that was fantastic.  And there was a drummer in Brooklyn, and he had heard about Clifford Brown, and this was his chance to see him and hear him.  He came to one of those recording sessions, and that drummer was Max Roach. Well time went by, and Max Roach and Clifford Brown, formed a quintet.  And it became very popular in that area, but they weren’t recording yet, but later, Mercury Records heard them, and heard about them-signed them to a recording contract, and now they were making records..well, they were *records* then.  And everybody around the world heard Max Roach and Clifford Brown. 

And they had, they had an important date coming up in Chicago, and the name of that club?   The same name as this club, it was the Blue Note in Chicago, heh, heh, heh.  Yeah and it was an important date, but you know during those days, musicians didn’t fly in airplanes…they rode the bus, took the train, or rode in a car. 

I rode in so many cars I knew every car on the street, yeah cars.  Now they were going to go to Chicago, in the car, Max Roach had his car, and he took a couple of musicians with him.  Now Richard, the piano player, Richard Powell, Bud Powell’s brother.  He had just gotten married, and he wanted to stay as long as possible in Philadelphia with his new wife. Well Brownie had just bought a BRAND, NEW 1955 Buick!  Ah, I remember it well, and the reason I remember it, he gave me a ride in it, ohhh, it was a great car.  So….Brownie, the piano player and his new bride, they were going to go at the last minute to Chicago, to play the Blue Note.  So it was about 3 o’clock in the morning, and they started out, but Brownie was sleepy, so he said to Richard, the piano player, ‘Richard, I’m a little sleepy, I think I’m going to take a nap on the back seat, can you drive or your wife?’  So Richard said, ‘I’m a little sleepy too, why don’t I let my wife drive?’  Well Ok.  Not much traffic, 3 o’clock in the morning, the freeway, they gotta go fast. 

Ok, so they went to sleep and the new bride was driving the car, *but the problem was!  It was raining, ah, raining so much water, so…she was about to pass one of those big trucks….and the windshield wipers were going like this…but there was so much water from the back wheels, that she couldn’t see very clear….just as the road made a right turn..she didn’t see the turn.  She went straight ahead, off the highway, and ran into the bottom of a bridge.  Richard Powell, his wife, and Clifford Brown were killed.  Killed they were on. 

Now I happened to be playing in Harlem, with Dizzy Gillespie at The Apollo Theatre, and we heard that Clifford Brown had been killed in an automobile accident and we couldn’t believe it.  Brownie?  Dead?  But yeah we found out that Clifford Brown was dead.  Mmmm. 

Our next engagement, in a couple of days was California.  Hollywood! Los Angeles.   And I thought since we have a couple of weeks there, maybe I could write a song about Clifford…and I did.  And I called that song, “I Remember Clifford”.  And we’re going to play it now. And every time I play this song, I wonder…what would have happened if Clifford Brown had NOT been killed…we can only imagine because of the things that he left behind on the recordings.  Yes…we still remember Clifford Brown.  And it was 63 years ago that he was killed.  And we still remember him, yes." 

Benny then says.."I Remember Clifford”……. and begins to play, Benny then, ailing from a bit of a hand injury, picks up his horn, and plays the first melody of the tune, a cappella  whispering, crying through his sax, breathy, and full of emotion….and then the rhythm section, Mike LeDonne, Buster Williams, and Carl Allen join him at the top of the tune.  

Tokyo Blue Note 
June 29, 2019





Summer gigs!  

Have a lot of nice things coming up this summer from Tokyo, to New York, to Amsterdam!   Hope to see y'all this summer!


Momose Shokudo in Tokyo, Japan! 

満員御礼☆マーシャル・マクドナルド JAZZプロジェクト@百瀬食堂 

June 16, 2019 






マーシャルがUPしてくれたyou tubeをここでもシェア!

Visit the Webpage here

July 7 Connecticut 

On July 7, I'll be playing for a private event at the Whitney Center in Branford CT, a retirement community.  I always like playing there so many of those folks actually saw Count Basie, Benny Goodman, and Tommy Dorsey!  It's a blast and I love it.

In the evening I will be at Ayuthai Restaurant in Guilford CT for some small group jazz with Jeff Fuller and David Childs

2279 Boston Post Rd, Guilford, CT 06437

6:30 PM start -  9 PM end



July 6 at Westchester Collaborative Theatre 

Marshall McDonald Jazz Project 
July 6, 2019 
two sets at 7:30 and 9 pm
Westchester Collaborative Theater 

Marshall McDonald saxophone 
James Weidman piano 
Noriatsu Naraoka bass 
George Coleman drums 

**Mr. Weidman has to suddenly travel out of town for family, and playing piano on July 6 will be David Childs.**

Westchester County based, (Ossining resident!) saxophonist Marshall McDonald, best known for his 20+ years on the Lead Alto chair with The Count Basie Orchestra, brings his swingin’ New York City band to the Westchester Collaborative Theatre in Ossining of July 6. Marshall has also performed with Lionel Hampton, Paquito D’Rivera, Chico O’Farrill, Abdullah Ibrahim, Duke Ellington, Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, Patti Austin, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Frank Foster, Lizz Wright, Ledisi amongst many others. He has played at Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Ronnie Scott’s, Tokyo Blue Note, Nice Jazz Festival Monterey Jazz Festival, Newport Jazz Festival to name a few. Marshall is a cat who can play and swing, band, The Marshall McDonald Jazz Project has performed worldwide. 

Marshall just returned from the 2019 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles for his role as Lead Alto on the latest Count Basie recording, and can be heard on a soon to be released Live at The Apollo: Ella 100 on Concord Records, we think this one is also going to the Grammys! In the last year alone, Marshall has played with Maceo Parker and The Ray Charles Orchestra, The Blue Note New York with The Duke Ellington Orchestra, Jazz Alley Seattle, Portland Jazz Festival, EFG Jazz Festival London, Yoshi’s, Cheltenham Jazz Festival with Abdullah Ibrahim, and Minton’s Playhouse NYC, Small’s NYC and Maureen’s Jazz club with his own quartet. 

The Jazz Project features the best of the best of New York City. On piano, the dynamic and swinging James Weidman, a New York City mainstay. James is indisputable an essential addition to whatever bandstand he graces. A partial list of Weidman’s affiliations is staggering: Max Roach, Woody Herman, Cassandra Wilson, Bobby Hutcherson, Slide Hampton, Abbey Lincoln, Joe Lovano, James Moody, and Kevin Mahoghany to name a few. 

The pulse of the group comes from Noriatsu Naraoka, hailing from Sapporo Japan, has been on the New York City scene for 20 years, with a big fat sound, he’s widely in demand. Nori has performed and recorded with many top industry musicians including: Grammy music award winners such as Allen Toussaint, Nicholas Payton, James Carter, Terence Blanchard and Donald Harrison. 

And let’s give the drummer some. George Coleman Jr, son of saxophone legend “Big” George Coleman (Miles Davis), and organist Gloria Coleman, George Jr, has music in his blood. Marshall spent 4 years studying with George Coleman Sr, so the connection with George Jr is direct and felt on the bandstand. George was seven when Jazz innovator and master drummer Max Roach gave him his first set of drums and studied drums with the master, Billy Higgins, who called him “one of the most talented and creative young drummers on the NY Jazz scene.” 

for tickets:  
For Tickets Click here


July 5 at Smalls Live NYC 

Marshall McDonald Jazz Project
July 5, 2019

Come celebrate July 4 with some New York Jazz!
@ Smalls Live, New York City, NY
Marshall McDonald saxophone
James Weidman piano
Noriatsu Naraoka bass
Alvester Garnett drums

**Mr. Weidman has to suddenly travel out of town for family, and playing piano on July 6 will be David Childs.**

Smalls Live Event


Latest Track

The new website is under construction.  Here's a sample of a track from my latest CD, come back soon for downloads!


MARSHALL MCDONALD upcoming gigs and concerts!

Date Event Location
Darryl Clark Fusion Spiotta Park, South Orange, NJ Spiotta Park, South Orange, NJ
Abdullah Ibrahim and Ekaya Martinique Jazz Festival Martinique Jazz Festival
Abdullah Ibrahim and Ekaya The Jazz Standard, New York, NY 10016 The Jazz Standard, New York, NY 10016
Abdullah Ibrahim and Ekaya The Jazz Standard, New York, NY 10016 The Jazz Standard, New York, NY 10016
Abdullah Ibrahim and Ekaya The Jazz Standard, New York, NY 10016 The Jazz Standard, New York, NY 10016
Abdullah Ibrahim and Ekaya The Jazz Standard, New York, NY 10016 The Jazz Standard, New York, NY 10016
Abdullah Ibrahim and Ekaya Keystone Korner Baltimore, Baltimore, MD 21231 Keystone Korner Baltimore, Baltimore, MD 21231
Abdullah Ibrahim and Ekaya Keystone Korner Baltimore, Baltimore, MD 21231 Keystone Korner Baltimore, Baltimore, MD 21231
Abdullah Ibrahim and Ekaya Keystone Korner Baltimore, Baltimore, MD 21231 Keystone Korner Baltimore, Baltimore, MD 21231
Abdullah Ibrahim and Ekaya Keystone Korner Baltimore, Baltimore, MD 21231 Keystone Korner Baltimore, Baltimore, MD 21231
 —  — Marshall McDonald Jazz Project Maureen's Jazz Cellar, Nyack, NY 10960 Maureen's Jazz Cellar, Nyack, NY 10960
 —  — Darryl Clark Fusion Band Spiotta Park, South Orange, NJ 07079 Spiotta Park, South Orange, NJ 07079