Tom Mac’s CD release: Upper Palette

It’s always nice to hear that a Rockford local has produced a new product, whether it is music, art or business related. The release of Tom Mac’s Upper Palette will be celebrated at Paragon this Thursday Oct. 16, and there is more than just one reason to drop by. If Mac weren’t a musician, he’d probably be a promotional executive since he has an impressive contact list of nationally recognized musicians who are willing to work with him on this locally released record. Featuring seven-time Grammy-winner Paul Wertico (who has worked with Pat Matheny), three-time Grammy nominee Stanley Jordan and the current bassist for the Dixie Chicks, Roscoe Beck, Upper Palette has an all-star cast. What I want to know is when these guys came to Rockford and why I wasn’t told about it. The 9-track CD includes four original Mac compositions and five “standards,” implementing aspects of rock and jazz. Although I’m not really big on the whole “fusion” thing (unless it’s delicately mastered with related genres and subtle melding), he does a good job in blending styles together smoothly. Upper Palette was entirely independently funded by Mac and displays clearly his love for music and appreciation for great musicians. Rockfordians probably recognize Mac’s name since he performs just about every weekend at either Café Patou, Paragon or any special music event this town has to offer. As guitarist and singer, he’s been known to mix pop, rock, folk and jazz aspects to create his own listener-friendly sound. There’s usually something for everyone in the audience during one of his shows, and Upper Palette has the same characteristic. The CD debut party will run from 6-10 p.m. and complimentary hors’ d’oeuvres will be served. Paragon is at 205 W. State St. For more information about Upper Palette or the release party, visit

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