Carl Fischer: Maynard Ferguson Spirit MedleyBy
The 16-plus minute extended track covers selections that salute Ferguson's output across his Mercury, Roulette, and Columbia years. This is not surprising since Fischer, both as a performer and producer, possesses a solid affection for the history of jazz trumpet. For example, see his work creating and performing T.ȄT.I. ("Tribute to Evolutionary Trumpet Icons"). Younger trumpeters and Ferguson fans might not be aware of the earlier Ferguson sides, however, this medley is a fine intro.
The Medley opens with Ferguson's biggest commercial hit, Bill Conti's "Rocky." Fischer brilliantly performs here and across the entire session. The exotic "Indian Raga" and Herbie Hancock and Harvey Mason's "Chameleon," both exciting tracks, continue the focus on the more contemporary Ferguson recordings. In a stroke of production genius, the "Spirit Medley" incorporates both Ferguson's actual recorded voice as well as Fischer narrating advice that the Master told him.
What is noteworthy is the fact that Fischer, as Ferguson advises in a dictated quote, is his own man. His playing is outstanding and he demonstrates a total command of the "unmasterable" instrument. His tracking parts (playing trombone, "Firebird" trumpet, et al.) and adding wisely chosen electronics is yet another fine stroke. The terrific supporting performers buy whole-hog into the medley's spirit and surround the leader with drive and great rhythmic and melodic support.
Two standout highlights are Fischer's marvelous renditions of "Tenderly" and the burner, "Fox Hunt." The former emanated from the Ferguson's Swingin' My Way Through College (Roulette Records, 1958) recording. Fischer's canyon-big sound displays the sonically obvious love and respect he has for his former employer. And, on "Fox Hunt," a sizzling trumpet trio (all Fischer) his phenomenal Bop chops are as exciting as ever. Weather Report's "Birdland" completes the truly inspiring MF medley in a grand and ear-worming form.
Maynard Ferguson Spirit Medley is a trumpeting tour de force and will assuredly be well-received among Ferguson and Fischer-hungry fans. What makes the effort so brilliant is that its fine playing, innovation, and indeed "Mayn" spirit is a contagious delight.
Medley: Rocky, Indian Raga, Chameleon, Fox Hunt, Tenderly, Birdland.
Carl Fischer: trumpet; LaRue Nicholson: guitar, electric; Luis Alicea: drums.
Carl Fischer: soprano sax, "Firebird," valve trombone, flugelhorn, vocals; Patrick Bettison: bass; Stephen Wright: 2nd trumpet and vocals on "Birdland"; Ron Oswanski: keyboards on Birdland; Kenry Walker: "Skylab" bass on "Chameleon" and "Birdland."
Title: Maynard Ferguson Spirit Medley | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Self-Produced
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