Even after traveling the world over, often in primitive conditions, enduring countless one–night stands in towns large and small, and playing lead trumpet in groups of all shapes and sizes, Maynard Ferguson has never wavered in his love for Jazz or lost his enthusiasm for blowing — an enthusiasm that leaps out and grabs you whenever his youthful Big Bop Nouveau is within hearkening distance. To help keep the fires burning, Maynard surrounds himself with talented young players who push him to the limit, and his latest edition of BBN is no exception with capable holdovers Carl Fischer, Tom Garling, Matt Wallace and Ron Oswanski forming its nucleus and newcomers Frank Greene and Wayne Bergeron (trumpet), Sal Giorgianni (tenor), Paul Thompson (bass) and Dave Throckmorton (drums) rounding out the unit. With Maynard at its helm, the 10–piece ensemble delivers the sound of a much larger group. BBN swings with abandon on most of these selections, as does special guest alumnus Denis DiBlasio on “The Lip” (on which he sings and scats about a legendary high–note trumpeter — anyone we know? — and plays baritone sax before a certain well–known high–note specialist takes it out). If there’s an obvious shortcoming, it lies in the more than 15 minutes devoted to Maynard’s mandatory Indian raga, “Misra–Dhenuka.” But he has given us so much we’ll not complain too loudly about it (and besides, this one isn’t nearly as taxing as others we’ve heard). Garling, a superb composer and arranger, contributed two originals, the romantic “Waltz for Nicole” and buoyant “Knee Deep in Rio,” Oswanski wrote and arranged the sensuous “Milk of the Moon” for Maynard’s flugel, and BBN alum Christian Jacob composed the lovely ballad “Erica and Sandra.” BBN crashes headlong into the standards “Just Friends” and “I Love You,” while the closing number, “Caruso,” is a gentle Italian popular song invested with an operatic veneer by virtue of Maynard’s lyrical flugelhorn. On balance, another noteworthy session by one of Jazz’s legendary masters and his rapidly maturing disciples.
Track listing: Just Friends; Waltz for Nicole; I Love You; Milk of the Moon; Misra–Dhenuka; Knee Deep in Rio; Erica and Sandra; The Lip; Caruso (66:26).
Track Listing: Just Friends; Waltz for Nicole; I Love You; Milk of the Moon; Misra-Dhenuka; Knee Deep in Rio; Erica and Sandra; The Lip; Caruso.
Personnel: Maynard Ferguson- trumpet, flugelhorn, firebird; Frank Greene- trumpet; Carl Fischer- trumpet, superbone; Wayne Bergeron- trumpet; Tom Garling- trombone, superbone; Matt Wallace- tenor saxophone, alto saxophone; Sal Giorgianni- tenor saxophone, alto saxophone; Dave Throckmorton- drums; Ron Oswanski- piano, keyboards; Paul Thompson- electric bass, acoustic bass; Denis DiBlasio- vocals & baritone saxophone on "The Lip."
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.