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 newsreader 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.
The mixture caught the attention of Eversound Records and producer and new age artist John Adorney. and led to his 2002 release Shadow Crossing which was followed by the 2006 release Everlasting.
To date, Macdonald has produced sixteen CDs. He owns an independent record label, CMMP.
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 realise his early compositions until the advent of MIDI which then allowed him to realise 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 additionally 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 throughout 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.
- 1989 Cool Jazz Hot Summer - Pro Arte Records [CDX 009] (Out of Print)
- 1991 The Highland Project - ITI [ITI 705CD] (Out of Print)
- 1997 The Hills Above Old Hollywood - CMMP [CMMP CD004] (Out of Print)
- 1999 Promise - CMMP [CMMP CD005]
- 2002 Love's Magic (An Eversound Song Collection) - Eversound
- 2002 Shadow Crossing - Eversound [EVM-3515]
- 2004 Eversound Chillout: The Inner Groove - Eversound [EVM-3519]
- 2005 Grandcascade - CMMP [CMMPCDA1]
- 2005 Falling Into Midnight - CMMP [CMMPCDA2]
- 2005 Dreamliner - CMMP [CMMPCDA3]
- 2005 Gold Coast - CMMP [CMMPCDA4]
- 2006 Everlasting - Eversound [EVM-3524]
- 2006 Love's Magic, Vol. 2: An Eversound Song Collection - Eversound [EVM-3523]
- 2006 Home On the Horizon - CMMP [CMMPCDB0]
- 2007 Anything & Everything - CMMP [CMMPCDB1]
- 2007 Cheshire Moon - CMMP [CMMPCDB2]
- 2008 Hard Rains Often Fall - CMMP [CMMPCDB3]
- 2008 Eversound's tenth Anniversary - Eversound [EVM-3527]
- 2009 A Whisper to Remember - CMMP [CMMPCDB4]
- 2010 With Every Intimate Breath - CMMP [CMMPCDF1]
- 2010 The Wishing Well - CMMP [CMMPCDF2]
- 2011 Manhattan - CMMP [CMMPCDF3]
- 2011 Eversound Healing - Eversound [EVM-3530]
- 2012 Suburban Prairie - CMMP [CMMPCDF4]
- 2012 Within This Mist of Blue - CMMP [CMMPCDF5]
- 2012 The Artists of Eversound LIVE!! 15 Anniversary Concert - Eversound [EVM-3533]
- 2013 When Dreams Come True - CMMP [CMMPCDF6]
- 2014 Los Angeles - CMMP [CMMPCDG1]
- 2015 Christmas - CMMP [CMMPCDG2]