• Jonathan Widran

THE COACHELLA VALLEY TRIO, Mid Century Modern


For the past two decades, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, CA has been a premiere annual showcase for what’s hip and retro cool in rock, pop, indie, hip-hop and electronic dance music. But as veteran guitarist Doug MacDonald proves with his longtime ensemble The Coachella Valley Trio on their sizzling/snappy yet sensual/soulful collection Mid Century Modern, the region’s got a smaller but still damn nifty jazz community as well.

In the past year, MacDonald’s been a bit all over the map, showcasing his versatility on projects attributed to the Doug MacDonald Quartet and Doug MacDonald & The Tarmac Ensemble. The current 11 track collection is a vibrant, freewheeling showcase for the trio of Larry Holloway (bass) and Tim Pleasant (drums), longtime cohorts he has held court with regularly on Wednesday nights at AJ’s on the Green in Cathedral City.

True to his always spirited, exotic leaning form, MacDonald brings the surreal crisp and fluid magic tackling thoughtful and easy swinging arrangements of four snazzy originals (including the brisk, exotic Brazilian treks “”Cat City Samba” and “Bossa Nueva”) and classics like “What’s New,” “Give Me The Simple Life,” Dizzy Gillespie’s jaunty romp “Woody N’ You” and Harold Arlen/Johnny Mercer’s “My Shining Hour.” While Holloway and Pleasant provide the rhythmic thrust, many of the tracks also feature infectious touches of global fusion consciousness fired up by djembe master Big Black.

If you’re on your way to the Coachella Festival and have an open mind, treat yourself to a night with a trio that reflects the true Palm Springs style and vibe that remains after all the young hipsters head home.


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