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Retro Cool Jazz Ambient Chill
New CD "Manhattan"
Curtis Macdonald (born 20 February 1962), also known as Curtis S.D. Macdonald, is an American composer and pianist who describes his style as "contemporary instrumental."
Growing up in Westlake Village, California, Macdonald aspired to become a composer after exposure to the entertainment industry by his family that included his grandfather, pioneering newscaster Clete Roberts. He was influenced by jazz music and film scores while growing up, and taught himself piano after an introduction to learning how to play the drums.
After graduating from California Institute of the Arts in 1986 with a BFA in composition, Macdonald’s jazz and film music roots and admiration of popular song form became the influence of his compositions. He married the improvisational nature of jazz with the memorable melody of popular music by creating a unique style fusing jazz, new age and world music by combining single line piano with transparent electronica arrangements to create a sound that appeals to mainstream music fans and aficionados of instrumental music.
Macdonald comes from a planned community 40 miles west of Los Angeles, California. He started playing at age five, and got into local bands as a teenager. This gave him the opportunity to realize his early compositions until the advent of MIDI which then allowed him to realize compositions via a computer. As a student at Cal Arts, he received valuable tutelage from Morton Subotnick, Alan Chaplin, Barry Schrader and academy award winning composer Leonard Rosenman. He also received influential advice from composers John Cage, Morton Feldman and Milton Babbitt. After graduating, Macdonald recalled the influences he had growing up, Vince Guaraldi, Bill Evans, Bob James and Vangelis and fused his educated ideas with these early influences and began his stylistic approach to instrumental music. Along the way he supplemented his income by composing music for industrial videos that then led to composing library music and understanding the business of licensing intellectual property. His love of jazz and composition allowed him to express and instruct others during the 1990s while honing his personal sound. With the birth of the Electronica genre, Macdonald began to cross pollinate his ideas of jazz and new age with the endless pallet of sonic textures synthesizers had to offer. Utilizing certain sounds that would become a staple in his orchestration, his sound of transparency and floating delay underscoring the melody performed by an acoustic piano would constitute an original style.
To date, Macdonald has produced fourteen CDs. He owns an independent record label.