With an established reputation as one of Canada’s leading saxophonists, Kirk MacDonald cut his first record at the age of thirteen. Throughout his career, he has received numerous awards, and has worked with many leading musicians in a variety of musical genres. He has performed on over 45 CDs as both leader and sideman, and has participated in numerous national broadcast recordings for CBC Radio. In addition to performing extensively throughout Canada, he has also performed in the USA, Spain, France, Italy, Holland, Monaco, Australia, Korea, Bermuda, and the Bahamas.
For over 25 years Kirk has worked and recorded with many leading Canadian, U.S. and International jazz musicians including Claude Ranger, Dave Young, Sam Noto, Sonny Greenwich, Kenny Wheeler, Eddie Henderson, Harold Mabern, Walter Bishop Jr., Lorne Lofsky, Bob Mover, Pat LaBarbera, John Taylor, Ron McClure, Mike Stern, Jim McNeely, Bob Mintzer, Vince Mendoza, John Clayton, Chris Potter, Glenn Ferris, Maria Schneider, Dave Grusin, Danilo Perez, Adam Rogers, Dennis Mackrel, Nancy Walker, Barry Romberg, Andre White, Rob Smith, Brian Dickinson, Denny Christianson, Bernie Senensky, Phil Nimmons, James Moody, Rosemary Clooney, Humber College Faculty Ensemble.
Over 90 performances of his compositions appear on 22 CDs, both as leader on his own recordings as well as on recordings by other artists. Kirk’s most recent activities include the release of Family Suite (2008), an 11 part suite for jazz quartet on Romhog Records, and Songbook Vol. I (2009) – a collection of his compositions for jazz quartet, on ADDO Jazz Records, with Songbook Vol. II (2010). Kirk also leads the Kirk MacDonald Jazz Orchestra (KMJO), a 19-piece all-star ensemble dedicated to performing his original compositions and featuring arrangements by leading Canadian and U.S. Writers. The KMJO released its debut recording Deep Shadows in March 2011. Kirk has just finished his tenth recording as leader with the KMJO – a re-working of “Family Suite” for jazz orchestra.
Kirk has been active as an educator for 27 years at leading jazz studies programs such as at the University of Toronto and McGill University. Kirk is presently a full time professor at Humber College in Toronto, where he holds a cross appointment in the Music Degree Program and the Community Music School. Kirk also acts as the Artistic Director for the “Youth Jazz in the City” project and directs the “Greater Toronto Area Honour Combos” and the “National Youth Honour Combo”. This project also hosts a 2 week workshop in the summer for high school students ages 14 to 18 in Toronto.
AWARDS & NOMINATIONS
As Leader or Soloist
2015 – ECMA Nominee – Best Jazz Recording - (Symmetry)
2015 – Juno Award Nominee – Best Jazz Album - Solo Category (Vista Obscura)
2012 – Juno Award Nominee – Best Traditional Jazz Album (Deep Shadows)
2011 – Juno Award Nominee – Best Traditional Jazz Album (Songbook Vol. II)
2010 – Juno Award Nominee – Best Contemporary Jazz Album (Songbook Vol. 1)
2009 – the Canada Council’s “Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award”
2007 – Now Magazine –Saxophonist of the Year
2005 – National Jazz Awards Nomination – Saxophonist of the Year
2004 – National Jazz Awards Nomination – Saxophonist of the Year
2003 – National Jazz Awards Nomination – Saxophonist of the Year
2002 – Winner – 4th Concours International de Soliste de Jazz – Monaco
2001 – Juno Award Nomination – Best Mainstream Jazz Album (New Beginnings)
2001 – Canadian Indie Music Award Nomination – Best Jazz Recording (New Beginnings)
1999 – Juno Award – Best Mainstream Jazz Album (The Atlantic Sessions)
1999 – Jazz Report Awards – Album of the Year (The Atlantic Sessions)
1999 – Jazz Report Awards – Tenor Saxophonist of the Year
1996 – Nomination for East Coast Music Award – Jazz Artist of the Year (Reminiscence)
With Other Artists
2009 – Juno Award Nominee – Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year (Existential Detective) (Random Access Large Ensemble)
2003 – Montreal Jazz Festival Prix de Jazz (Nancy Walker Quartet)
2001 – Juno Award Nominee – Best Vocal Jazz (This Is How Men Cry) (Marc Jordan) Blue Note Records
2000 – Juno Award Nominee – Best Mainstream Jazz Album (New Horizons) (Bernie Senensky) Timeless
1999 – Juno Award Nominee – Best Mainstream Jazz Album (Siren’s Song) (Maritime Jazz Orchestra) Justin Time
1999 – Montreal Jazz Festival Prix de Jazz (Chris Mitchell Quintet)