L.A. Times: ” . . .inventive, stylistically omnivorous composer and gifted performer . . .”

The New York Times: “Payton MacDonald’s rich-textured Cowboy Tabla/Cowboy Raga . . . is nearly a percussion concerto, with Mr. MacDonald as energetic soloist.”

Denver Post: ” . . . one of the highlights, ‘Cowboy Tabla/Cowboy Raga’ . . . The two pieces fuse into a 20-minute whole, creating an alluring, ever-changing exotic musical journey.”

Percussive Notes: “Payton MacDonald’s yearlong release of weekly albums is a mammoth project . . . Simplicity of the concept aside, nothing about this project is quite fathomable – the sheer volume of recordings or the consistent quality of the music produced.” “The opening track, ‘Kid Tao Mammal (Unworldliness Weirdo),’ which has its premiere here, was composed for this project by percussionist Payton MacDonald, a founding member of Alarm Will Sound. It’s an excellent representation of the album, shining a light on all parties involved: note the zip-lining orchestral figures that set up Medeski’s funky electric piano solo, and the tensile hush that descends about four minutes in. (After an extended middle section that begins with vibraphone and cello, Martin constructs a masterly drum solo in free tempo.) By track’s end, we’ve returned to the arpeggiated flourish from the overture.” “It is during Payton Solo, that I gained my first real appreciation for the way MacDonald plays the marimba. There is a real earthiness that exudes from the instrument’s resonance as sticks hit wood . . .  definitely one of the best things I have heard in a while.”

Percussive Notes: “Taken as a whole, this recording is a welcome change of pace from the average marimba album. It serves as a manifesto of sorts, arguing that there is still value in exploring new thoughts for the instrument, and submitting as its evidence a collection of meaningful work by composers and performers of new music.”

The Telegram: “Payton MacDonald’s ‘Sonic Divide’ was next, which topped the charts for weird, as he combined his very different interests of ultra-distance mountain biking and music.”

American Record Guide: “. . . MacDonald’s works marshal a virtuosic tour de force from the performer. The rippling, shimmering textures he creates are hard to describe. I can’t begin to imagine how he accomplishes them. Marimba wizardry? The cozy harmonies, the velvety propulsions, the gliding layers groove like some gauzy gamelan. As I listen, I’m drawn through a trance into the dizzying spell of MacDonald’s Marimba-Oz.”

Grooves Magazine: “Marimbas are often stigmatized as mere entertainment for tots or fodder for broken-record minimalism. Payton MacDonald manages to trump both stereotypes with Super Marimba . . .[MacDonald] grew eight arms and concocts cats’-cradle melodies that seem to be performed by two musicians and offer new every time. . .Superhuman.”

Textura Magazine: “Though Super Marimba includes remarkable performances, it’s ultimately less noteworthy for its technical virtuosity and innovative instrument effects than for the strength of its compositions.”

Dhrupad singing

The Hitaveda: “Dr. Payton MacDonald with his melodious voice spread the beauty of Dhrupad, its subtle finer points and the way he sang seemed to be spiritualistic. His solo Dhrupad performance was encouraging and not less than any young Indian Dhrupad singer.”

The Times of India: “Lovers of Indian classical music from city had a gala time listening to Payton MacDonald’s recital at Antarang hall of Bharat Bhavan.”

Patrikaa Newspaper: “In an entertaining performance the artist presented in an amazing manner what is accepted as the most difficult form of Indian music.” [translation from Hindi by Sajan Sankaran]

Hindustan Times: “Listening to Indian classical music in Bharat Bhavan by artists of USA was a moment of proud. It was amazing time to hear these artists who are learning Dhrupad style from Padmashree Gundecha Brothers in Bhopal. Dr. Payton MacDonald performed Raag Jog with traditional style of Dagar Gharana with alaap, jod, jhala elaborating the raag and a bandish in Chautal . . .”

Quotes from Real-World Community Members

“That was the first classical concert I’ve ever been to that was actually cool!”

“I wasn’t even high and that was awesome!”