by Nick Catalano
The recent Montreal Jazz Festival (read about it here) sparked many conversations hailing the evolution of the event in recent years and its growing importance for musicians everywhere. It certainly ranks among the best jazz convocations in the Western Hemisphere. The occasion of the festival offered me an opportunity to reflect on the history of Canadian jazz and my association with some of its leading exponents. The first name I thought of was Maynard Ferguson. My multiple associations ...read more
by Nicholas F. Mondello
With the possible exceptions of Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker--both of whose playing influenced the entire genre of jazz--no other jazz performer has had the purely imitative effect on an entire instrument's universe of players than Maynard Ferguson. Ferguson's unique abilities as a trumpet player and individual inspire trumpeters young and old to this day. His most ardent admirers stretched beyond the jazz idiom to Maurice Andre, Adolph Bud" Herseth--respectively considered the gold standard" of orchestral and virtuosic trumpeting--to the ...read more
by Woodrow Wilkins
Throughout his sixty-plus year career, Maynard Ferguson featured numerous sidemen on varying arrangements of jazz standards, covers of pop hits and original songs. As a young man, he performed with such legends as Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie and Stan Kenton. As a bandleader, his stage band and studio guests included a virtual who's who of jazz, including Bob James, David Sanborn, Nathan East, Stanley Clarke, George Benson and Steve Gadd. Born in Canada but living in the United ...read more
by Jack Bowers
In baseball parlance, one could say he went down swingin'. In July, 2006, less than a month before his passing at age seventy-eight, trumpeter Maynard Ferguson led Big Bop Nouveau and a handful of the group's notable alumni into a studio in Englewood, NJ, to record what is arguably his finest album in years, and one that presumably no one, least of all Maynard himself, suspected might be his last.
On the other hand, we'll never know if Ferguson may ...read more
by Jack Bowers
In August 2005, when Maynard Ferguson and Big Bop Nouveau recorded MF Horn VI at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London, no one could have known or even suspected that the trumpet legend would pass away one year later, shortly after a series of sold-out concerts at New York City's Blue Note nightclub and another recording session with BBN, this one a studio date in Englewood, New Jersey.
There's a saying about cowboys and westerners who lived life to the ...read more
by Patricia Myers
Maynard Ferguson grinned with delight as the sounds of Blue Birdland roared from a big band of 14 trumpeters. When the chart ended, he climbed on stage and declared, Finally, somebody got it right! We don't need those funny instruments like saxophones and trombones!
MF's classic wit and charisma were bonus elements of the four-day production in 2004 of Stratospheric: A Maynard Ferguson Big Band Alumni Reunion. MF reminisced energetically during panel discussions and was readily accessible to chat with ...read more
by Woodrow Wilkins
I remember the first time I saw Maynard Ferguson in concert. It was spring 1982, the Cross & Sword Amphitheater in St. Augustine, Fla. It was my first time seeing a live jazz act, and the program left me feeling very satisfied. I knew I was onto something, although that could have been said the first time I played Conquistador (Columbia, 1977), Maynard's best-selling album which featured the top 30 hit Gonna Fly Now. The band, I would ...read more