Growing up in Canada, Curtis began performing when he was nine years old. Eager to further refine his craft, he ventured to the Banff Centre for the Arts where he participated in several residencies alongside ongoing apprenticeships in New York City. Today he can be seen leading his ensemble, composed of world-class improvising musicians, throughout New York City’s most respected jazz and creative music venues.
In addition to developing a sizable repertoire for small ensemble, Curtis’ music has taken form in many a medium. He is often commissioned to compose music for chamber groups, independent films and modern dance. His production savvy is heard on many new music and modern jazz recordings where he incorporates improvisation, sound art and digital technology.
Through his research of sound, acoustics, and digital audio processes Curtis has begun to exploit natural aural phenomena within his compositions, such as binaural beating in the form of a modified rhythmic vibrato heard in his piece “Childhood Sympathy.” A quick look at his website will reveal his probing creativity on the cutting edge of computer music technology.
Curtis’ music draws from a variety of influences. He remains allured by the emotive sounds of saxophonists past and draws a new melodic virtuosity based not only on traditional approaches, but also other transcendental and philosophical models.
Curtis’ versatility incorporates listening with the ears of a sound designer, playing the saxophone to capture a sense of fluidity, and composing to tickle the mind, all without losing a sense of unity.
Based in Brooklyn, Macdonald is part of the next generation of great saxophonists. Community Immunity, his debut release on Dave Douglas’ Greenleaf Music is the first of what will surely be many excellent Curtis Macdonald projects in the years to come.