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Peaced Heart and Often Grin

John Mackay

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Album Review

John MacKay came to the Napa Valley and Sonoma wine countries of California via Toronto (where he was raised), as well as New York and Boston. In addition to jazz, MacKay has composed choral work and immersed himself in Indian music and instruments. This album is dedicated to Sri Sri Bhagavan, who has the handsome title of Divine World Teacher. The six MacKay originals on the album find their roots in Bhagavan's teaching. Judging by tracks and song titles, tolerance and peace are an important part of the man's message. Even "Tennessee Waltz" is done in a languorous manner. At the same time, there is nothing Eastern, Indian, Oriental or otherwise Asian in the music. The tribute to the Divine World Teacher is to honor by state of mind via song titles, not by style or interpretation. The album, however, is not all "peaced" heart. Things are livened up considerably on the standards and originals like "On the Road to Franklin Square," where the pianist shows a penchant for vigorous swinging. He also has a way of slotting in unusual chord combinations, keeping everyone on their toes. "Bye Bye Blackbird" is the vehicle for group fun and games as they give this oft-played standard a new, bright musical paint job. Another standard, "You and the Night and the Music," is the tool for MacKay's improvisational wizardry. No matter the tempo or the philosophical underpinning for the session, MacKay establishes himself as an excellent pianist (he could go without the synthesizer, though). In the meantime, it's recommended that this album be added to the buy list.

Peaced Heart and Often Grin, John Mackay
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  • £7.90
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 16 May 2001

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